Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
8,489 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: 8,489 |  Reviews: 1,941
Photo of asabreed
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn snifter. Scary ass wraithlike, bearded, in-fog old guy holding an ax on the label. Wow.

Appearance: A deep amber with a lighter mocha-colored head. Lots of bubbles and carbonation and sticky lacing and head retention. Hopefully this lends itself to a good creaminess. Swirl the beer around a bit and you can see the sheen of lacing left around the glass, which is a great sign.

Smell: Hello, bourbon. Right out of the gate this hits pretty hard, but lovingly. Lots of wood, vanilla, sugary caramel, smoke, hints of ripe dark fruit, and just-starting-to-bake sugar cookies.

Taste: Bourbon flavors initially, with vanilla, wood, smoke, raisins, honey, cookie dough, and hints of dark cherries. Then into some woody bitterness, but what's a tad bit disappointing is how short the finish seems, especially with the packed flavor of each initial sip. There's a bitterness that seems to curb it a little too much, then masks it, and then it's gone. What that's doing is making me drink it faster to taste everything again, which is certainly good and bad.

Mouthfeel: Ultra creamy and bubbly, though it's not heavy or cloying in the least, maintaining a pretty fantastic balance. Not sure how this is done.

Drinkability: Way too deceptively drinkable at over 10%. I knew I should've picked up a 4-pack instead of a bottle. Seek this out, as it seems to be a younger, lighter cousin of KBS in my opinion.

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Photo of philbe311
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, this is one of my all-time favorite beers... I'm very eager to try this bottled version...

A - Deep rich mahogany color... Close to opaque, but a little light sneaks in through the top around the edges... Little or no head, just a brief lacing, and that fizzes away in a matter of seconds... Lots of suspended sediment throughout the glass...

S - The boozy scent of bourbon hits the nose first and while quite powerful it draws you in... Caramel... Vanilla... Oak... Burnt sugars... Some minor hints of dark fruit...

T - True to the nose, the bourbon burns on the tongue first... This is followed up by a wonderful malt assault... Caramel... Oak... Vanilla... Brown sugar... Raisins... Faint coffee... The rich booziness is even more pronounced in bottle form...

M - Medium to full bodied... Perfect amount of biting carbonation on the tongue... Thick and chewy... Syrupy... A small sip fills the entire mouth... Even and consistent... Warming effects of the alcohol is undeniable... Ridiculously smooth for a barrel aged brew with ABV in excess of 10%...

D - A sipper in the truest sense of the word... As one would expect - Founders + Barrel Aging + Scotch Ale = a tremendous brewing triumph... Whether on tap or in bottle, this is a stellar creation...

Note - Overall, while still a world class brew, this bottle version is a slight step down from the draft version... The bottle version seems to be slightly more dominated by the booziness and some the terrific complexities of the draft versoin tend to get lost...

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Photo of westweasel
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a New Belgium goblet.

Appearance: Very dark amber / medium brown. Translucent with tons of floaties throught the beer. A very thin ring of off-white head.

Aroma: The nose is filled with scents of caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, bourbon, and alcohol.

MF - medium to medium full. Medium carbonation

Taste - The strongest malt flavors are toffee, mixed in with some chocolate and caramel. Also mixed in there are a strong alcohol flavor and a hint of bourbon. The alcohol flavor overpowers the malty flavors and lingers after the swallow.

Drinkability - I would like this even more if the straight alcohol flavor was more subtle, and the bourbon and malty flavors were stronger. It still a very enjoyable beer, even with all the floaters in the glass.

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Founders really does know how to make a kickass and unique brew. I don't typically swear in my reviews, but damn, Founders knows their shit. This beer is great.

A: This pours a real murky brown color. Lots of suspended sediment and almost no head at all. This actually reminded me of diarrhea in a glass.

S: Lots of Bourbon on the nose. Oak, sweetness, and alcohol.

T: Alright, the star of the show here. This beer is super complex and awesome. There is bourbon, woody oak, chocolate, alcohol, vanilla, tobacco, and a hint of sweetness. The flavors are blended to perfection.

M: Medium bodied with very low carbonation. The beer coats your mouth with the wonderful flavors. Not cloying at all. There is also hardly any alcohol detection. Super smooth brew.

D: This brew is over 11% ABV, so you can't have too many of these gems. But, this beer is exceptionally smooth and the flavor keeps you coming back for more.

I usually do not care for Scotch Ales as they tend to be overly sweet and cloying. But this brew does not go overboard on the sweetness and I think the barrel aging did wonders for this one. It is seasonal, I believe, but go out of your way to get some when it is available. Great brew.

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Photo of jsh420
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours cloudy redish brown with 1 finger head that fades fast

smells very sweet reminds me of a dark belgian

taste - this bottle has some age on it and has mellowed the booze nicely - woody vanilla sweet dark fruit with an after taste of roasted chocolate malts - a much much different beer fresh

mouthfeel is good with just enough carbonation to leave a nice creamy finish

drinkability is good even at 10.2% but i would not drink more 1

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Photo of GarthTaargus
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer was included in a super-loaded generous box o' beer from craytonic. Thanks Man!

Pulled from the cellar and poured into a snifter.

Appearance is nice, dark mahogany wood, with a tan-colored head that started frothy but disappeared after a minute. Roughly translucent given the color and style.

The smell is of typical Scottish beer type, malt, peat, a strange sourness at the very first moment of the beer, this recedes quickly. I have found this odd smell in Traquiar House as well, so it must be normal. There is a bourbon smell, but not overpowering. It might be my imagination or the power of suggestion, but I smell a tiny hint of maple. Overall a nice smelling beer.

Taste is fantastic. Just as the smell implies, with a buttery finish. No maple detected here though... A very good tasting beer. See: Smell.

The mouthfeel has lots of good body, but is not syrupy. Just what it should be. A bit thicker than some in the style, but I like this.

A very drinkable beer. I wish I had more. Lots of assertive flavors, but they all play nice together creating an exciting brew which goes down nicely. I wish I had another.

Thanks, Craytonic!

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Photo of GRG1313
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bourbon flavored aged ale pours brown with a nice tan head. Lovely soft burnt carmel nose, with hints of fruited toffee. Smokey-campfire malty flavors with dried fruit flavors and characteristics. Desireable creamy fruit and malty mouth and long on hops in the finish. Excellent character and quality.

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

12 oz. bottle (big thx to milwaukeeclassic!) with a really cool graphic of a creepy looking rip van winkle type character with an axe over his shoulder. Poured into my Deschutes snifter, Backwoods Bastard is a dark garnet/brown, with a quickly fleeting tan head that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is big vanilla and stone fruits, with clean alcohol vapors and light phenols coming out as it warms.

Taste is also rather malty, strong cherry and raisin fruit notes (special b?), more vanilla then wood, which I definitely prefer, with very light, plasticy phenols. Pretty clean though overall, not as robust as I was expecting, but frankly, for the size, that makes it all the better. Jeeze, really like this, though much more of a barleywine by my mind, not as intense maltiness, and a bit too fruity for a scotch ale. But frankly, it doesn't say anything about style on the label, so I won't ding it. I'm impressed with how smooth this is at this strength, being that it's on the younger side.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, pretty light body for the size, with a dry finish.

Drinkability is really good, a tasty strong ale, basically an English style BW by my book, but enjoyable for sure. This bottle is on the newer side, but I'm sure it will age well. The funny thing is I just remembered that it was bourbon barrel aged. Didn't get much of that. Some vanilla from the oak though, which is really all I want from the barrel anyways.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured up a nice medium brown colour with a cream coloured head. Smell is sweet malts, maybe a bit of dark fruit (figs?), and some mild, earthy hops. Taste was dominated by sweet malts with a bit of hop bitterness, which was nice. Alcohol was somewhat assertive, which hurt drinkability. Mouthfeel is pleasant and about average for the style. A well crafted brew, but I couldn't have more than say, maybe 2 of these in a sitting.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to leftmindedrighty for including this long time interest in my badass Fight Club BIF box.

Pours a clear savagely ruby red blood color with a light tan/off white head that lingers quite well and leaves fantastic lacing.

Nose is very nice with exactly what one would expect from this brew. Slight smoked peat malt, some sugary characteristics and a kiss of bourbon.

Hmmm. Interesting. Aggressive. Starts out with a sugary malt profile that is accentuated by a touch of peat like smokiness. That strong malt flavor continues as the bourbon begins to heat up. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla make their way into the flavor increasingly toward the finish. After a nice creamy finish, the bourbon comes out a bit more and produces a touch of heat, right along with the 10% abv. Vanilla and bourbon cruise you to the aftertaste on the back of a malty slope.

Mouthfeel is quite solid. A tiny bit too viscous I'd say, despite the fact you should expect something thick with a beer like this. The carbonation is spot on for the style.

Drinkability is my only gripe with this beer, albeit a small one. It is fairly hot, but i am also assuming this bottle to be quite fresh, since there are no signs of aging, and it has the new label and all (which I LOVE btw.) The heat is a little too noticeable for me, and the viscosity doesn't help that. Either way, this one still drinks like a champ for its abv.

Overall a very nice brew. Im loving these bourbon aged wee heavies these days. Berkshires has got to be my favorite out there but this one probably takes second, as far as bourbon aged wee heavies go. Not for the faint of heart or the weak of palate. Seems like a prime cellar candidate to me. Another winner from Founders.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with mahogany hues to it. Small off-white, creamy head.

S: Lots of bourbon going on here. This sits atop a fairly-strong caramel malt base with some buttered notes.

T: Again, the bourbon really comes out. It layers a nice complexity on top of the underlying notes of oak, caramel, and malt sweetness.

M: Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Not too hot, but a pretty good alcohol warmth to it.

D: Pretty drinkable, and sips especially quickly for a beer with so much bourbon.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of trade with newtonty at DLD

Thick reddish pour from 12 oz bottle featuring old curmudgeony bastardy bastard

Smells fairly hot with booze with a generous dose of maple, vanilla, and sugar.

Taste seriously benefits from warming as intense sweetness mellows. Bourbon pushes the edges but never overwhelms the senses. Sweet dessert, ice cream with caramel, vanilla again, mexican fried ice cream sugaryness. I don't particularly like Scotch Ales, but this is a different beast.

Mouthfeel is sweet and oily.

Drinkability is nice and again, benefits from some time to mellow.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.41/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Dark brownish red, with almost no head. There is lots of gritty looking yeast, more like cornmeal.

S- Lots of oak and bourbon in this beer's smell. Smells almost like GIBCS, buttery and thick. Although a bourbon scotch ale is a bit of a stretch. I would like a scotch barrel aged scotch ale.

T- The taste is of bourbon and buttery goodness. There isn't much scotch taste, which would be great in this beer. Its kinda there, but very faint. The malt taste is hiding in the background. I think the bourbon aging muddles the spirit of what makes a scotch ale a scotch ale...the scotch taste. But as far as a beer taste goes the taste of the beer as a beer is good.

M- Good mouthfeel. Not much to say about it, other then it is decent.

D- Easy to drink for sure. The alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of charlesw
2.29/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Deep brown amber. Small head even with great lengths taken.

Smells of mineral spirits.

Kind of weird in the mouth. Sweet and thick, chocolate milk, hot alcohol. Not what I expected at all. Some bourbon especially in the aftertaste (back and sides of the mouth) along with a lingering bitterness.

I have absolutely no idea why this is classified, here, today, as a Scotch Ale.

Too sweet and thick, not enough flavor, misplaced bourbon (to try to hide the hot alcohol?).


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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't know about anyone else, but I am pretty sure that the hillbilly on the label is seriously contemplating murdering you with that axe. He seems pissed as hell that you are trespassing, especially because you are from the "city." Maybe if you gave him bottle of Backwoods Bastard he might spare your life. Then again...

Stumpy 12oz. bottle with no freshness date. Not that this one needs it. At 10.2% abv and 50 IBU's, I can be sure that it's still good. Founder's PR for this beer reads: "Big and delicious for your 'perty mouth. (haha) 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 cherries. It's a kick-back sipper made to excite the pallet."

It pours into my wide tulip glass with a beautifully thick (about four fingers thick!) ocher head, which drops a little before settling. The body is as hazy as a foggy morning on the bayou. Deep russet colors with rosy highlights. Excellent lacing.

While the brewery's description of this beer's aroma sounds great, let's see what really comes out. I am surprised a bit by how subdued the smell is at first. Drink this just a bit cooler than room temp and you will get the full bouquet. A soft bourbon aroma, wood, vanilla and sweet caramel malt. A very faint whiff of hops in the background, enough to let you know that this won't be overtly sweet.

While the smell might not knock you out, the flavor is huge! This falls into style pretty squarely: huge malt bomb aged in bourbon barrels. The alcohol occasionally comes through as "hot." It seems like they used fresh bourbon barrels, since that aspect of the beers flavor is so strong. There are basically three components to Backwood's flavor: one is the bourbon wood, two is the caramel malt sweetness, and the third is a slight hop bitterness.

As on might expect, the beer is full-bodied. Yet there is substantial carbonation here, enough to prevent this one from every becoming syrupy or even chewy.

They weren't kidding about this one being a "kick-back sipper." Huge alcohol presence in this one. You have got to like whiskey if you want to enjoy this offering. I think it's very much worth ordering if you see it on tap, and I always do (order it that is).

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Photo of abrand
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into tumbler

A- Pours a deep amber color with minimal tan head with good lacing along the glass.

S- smells of sweet bourbon and lots of alcohol aromas with hints of hops

T- pretty powerful, alcoholic taste. plenty of bourbon flavors with a woody hoppy finish. spot on with taste!

M- Thick and syrupy

D- Fairly low, plenty of flavor that is delicious but lots of alcohol

Overall a very good beer, interested in aging to see how it mellows out.

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

Vintage 2008 12oz bottle from the fridge.

Pours dark mahogany with particulates in suspension. A thin tan head disappated quickly to reveal a whisp on the surface. Webbed lacework throughout the glass.

Aromatics lead off with Bourbon, Vanilla, caramel, sweet malt, and a hint of smoke.
Boozy fusels follow through along with toffee and char.

On the full side of medium bodied with a tacky, chewy mouthfeel.

Ripe malt, sweet caramel, peat, and Bourbon start the palate. Oak, Vanilla, and toasted chocolate nubs follow through.

Finishes with lingering oaky tannins, vanilla, Bourbon, and a hint of smoke.

Great beer. Not too sweet as the oak dries it up a bit. The Bourbon is significant but not overbearing. Great balance and quite rounded in character.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. 2008? 10.2% ABV with a different label than pictured. I bought this at a small town liquor store in March. I am unsure of the release date as the guy at the store said it was on their shelves for a couple of months. I grabbed a 4-pack and didn't question him any further.

Pours opaque brown with a minimal beige head that leaves no lacing on the glass. Aromas are of bourbon, alcohol, malts, toffee, and caramel. Mouth-feel is thick with an oily feel that coats the palate well. Strong bourbon, toffee, soft caramel chews, malts, mild fruitiness such as golden raisins are all present. Hints of oak and vanilla also present. Finish is very sweet, but the alcohol warmth tames it and keeps it in balance - also some spiciness adds to the finish. Lots of malt presence, which is accurate for the style.

This is an interesting take on a Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale and I do like it. I'm not sure if I would get it again, but I definitely recommend it if you can get your hands on it - well worth the try!

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Photo of Murchmac
2.43/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Well Younger35, you can't win them all.

The picture of Gandalf the Grey as a hillbilly farmer on the label should give it away. Pours a brownish brackish like the marsh lands frodo crossed with Sean Astin.

Smells cloying and sweet? Redundant, Gollum Gollum.

Tastes sticky icky sweet and alcoholy, like a pint from the green dragon and the bartendress that samwise gange eventually marries.

Aftertaste of stinginess, the beer turns blue when orcs are near.

I can see how some people like this beer, for me, it's like Mordor where the very air you breathe is poison.

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

Pours a cloudy, brown/red. Nose is caramel; dark fruits like raisin or cranberry creating tartness; chocolate; toffee. Flavor builds the nose to add creamy vanilla, sweetness, and a tart, carbonated bite on the finish. The vanilla and "oakiness" has a welcome similarity to the Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

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Photo of tedpeer
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce poured into a pint.

A - Pours a deep red/brown with a sand colored head that quickly settled to a thin layer. Light lacing.

S - Bourbon, malt, vanilla.

T - Roasted malt, dark fruits, Alcohol warmth.

M - Thick, medium carbonation, smooth.

D - Good beer.

I really enjoy both this and Dirty Bastard, although this is better.

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Photo of mday
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A :: Extremely dark, deep red and a light tan head that leaves little lacing.
S :: ...and here we have bourbon. So much bourbon (and some caramel/vanilla)! It smells delicious if you like bourbon.
T :: I got hit with some malty, smoky, caramel up front with the bourbon following close behind and it finishes with an oaky, dry woodiness.
M :: Creamy, smooth and sticky. As it lingers you get the alcohol warmth throughout your mouth and down your throat.
D :: I qualify this as a sipping beer. I really enjoyed it and it could be a good after dinner drink. Keep in mind the ABV; it will sneak up on you.

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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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Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 8,489 ratings