Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods 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

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Reviews: 1,835 | Ratings: 8,069
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sending me this one!

Pours a murky dark brown color with a 1 inch light beige head that fades to a thin cap. Rings upon rings upon rings of lace on the drink down. Very nice looking lacing with this beer. Smells of toasted coconut, some wood, alcohol, and malt. Taste has the toasted coconut, slight wood flavors, some vanilla, and malts. I am not really getting any stand out bourbon alcohol smells or tastes from this beer. Low carbonation with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat after each sip. Overall, this is a pretty taste beer with some nice toasted coconut qualities (I love coconut). I could probably only handle one of these at a time though.

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Photo of mltobin
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12 ounce bottle in Western Mass.

Appearance is nearly black with close to one finger of head.
Its` smell is quite nice, with some vanilla, bourbon, and dark roasted malts. Taking a sip of BB, I get some oak, scotch, a little chocolate. MF is medium-heavy, a bit rich. All in all, this is a very nice scotch ale. I continue to be happy from my Founders purchases when I am traveling to/through nearby states (live in CT).

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Photo of JayAre46
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

acquired in a trade and thank you chris! pours a deep earthy brown, very murky with some deep red edges. 1 finger of a lightly browned head quickly fell to a thin layer while showing good retention. the aroma is of sweet sweet candied sugar, caramel fudge but not much of a barrel presence. the taste is among the sweetest that has ever graced my palate. follows the nose with a strong torched caramelized vanilla bean awesomeness, roasted pralines and subtle woody dryness, then the bourbon shines through with some very warming heat. considering the barrel aging there is not much of a charred character but bourbon is the dominant flavor with a touch of oak. very smooth on the palate and quite the sipper the carbonation is just enough and done right. overall what a great brew for the season. i do wish there was more of an oak or charred characteristic to help balance some of the sweetness but i can't complain. dirty bastard stands its ground well and could take the cake in comparison. all in all, this is a great beer and im very happy that i got it and have one left. once again, well done founders. (don't see this one improving with age)

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Photo of woosterbill
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (2010 vintage, I presume) into a wine glass. Shared in line at DLD; thanks to the provider!

A: Clear, warm rosy-brown body with a 1/2" of fine tan foam. Ok retention and lacing. Attractive.

S: Soft, oaky bourbon is front and center, with vanilla, toffee, and dark fruits underneath. NIce, but not quite incredible.

T: Tons of barrel, with vanilla-drenched oak and straight bourbon dominating. Caramel, toffee, coconut and leather undertones. Boozy finish, but boozy in a good, bourbony way. Tasty.

M: A little thinner than expected, but in a pretty good way - smooth + slick. Light carbonation.

O: Excellent beer, but not as transcendent as I was hoping for from Founders. I'd love to drink it again, but won't be going out of my way for it any time soon.


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Photo of readbaron
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with a hint of lacing - no head to speak of.

Oak is very prominent in the nose - has the typical earthy oak aroma. Also hints of boozy sweet caramel and a touch of vanilla.

Wow. Lots of bourbon. Tastes a lot like you'd expect from the smell. Very smooth & malty with some oak notes and a lot of boozy caramel sweetness. Not much fruit or vanilla flavor.

Mouthfeel is perfect - medium body, plenty thick, nicely carbonated.

I had no problem polishing off a bottle - at this abv it's probably best to leave it at one 'though.

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Photo of Jazzcrop
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has tastes of yeast, oak, fudged corn, corn, booze, malt, tang, Nesquik and vinegar. Had this several times now and liked each time a little better/a little more, than when I had previously. Good stuff. I want some more, alas I can't get Founders here .

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Photo of Jimmys
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. bottled on 10/05/12.

A: a slightly hazed, very rich chestnut brown hued body. head is a reddish-brownish white and is made up of fine bubbles. retention is good.

S: a lot of bourbon and a lot of oak. vanilla and caramel. burnt brown sugar.

T: not nearly as hot as i was expected reading some other comments/reviews of this brew. sweetness is sharp. some boozy notes kick in after, but they dont overshadow. right before the finish, there are port-like aspects. cloying sweetness combined with a smooth oak flavor.

M: moderate amount of fizz, wouldnt actually hate for a little less carbonation. full body.

D: pretty enjoyable brew. really nice to see a big, bourbon barrel aged brew this easy to drink after only being in the bottle for about 6 weeks. my only complaint is regarding the carb which i think detracts from the body a bit. something that i think if it were backed off a bit, would make this even more of a savory treat.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
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 kbwalters
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look = 4.25 Pours cola brown into an opaque brown with fire red highlights. One finger of brown head fades quickly leaving a medium dense lace. Nice color.
Aroma = 4.5 Very sweet caramel malt upfront with candy and vanilla notes; big bourbon notes come in with oak notes and alcohol.
Taste = 4.0 Big caramel and vanilla flavors upfront before the big bourbon kick rolls in with oak notes complimenting. Low bitterness but sweet with a lingering alcohol taste.
Feel = 4.0 Full bodied, low to medium carbonation, sort of creamy and smooth.
Drinkability = 3.5 Big boozy presence hurts drinkability somewhat
Overall = 4.1125 All around pretty good BB scotch ale here but I’ve got it a notch or two below Wulver and Central Waters.

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Photo of vkv822
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into snifter.
bottled 09/03/10
sent as part of some awesome extras from ShogoKawada and jbck109 both!

Pours a murky amber brown with a thin bubbly yellowy-off white colored head that dissipates into a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

The aroma is of sweet caramel malts and strong vanilla oak and bourbon upfront. There are also very faint notes of smoky leather and dark fruit present.

The taste is dominated by bourbon in the front. Though if you can work your way through the boozy bourbon, there are very pleasant notes of caramel from the malts, vanilla from the oak barrels, as well as faint notes of smoky dark fruits.

Medium body, with appropriate carbonation.

Wow, the ABV is extremely well hidden and despite the flavors being built on bourbon, this was still pretty easy drinking and very enjoyable.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A deep reddish brown boddy is capped by a smallish tan head that soon reduces to a small island of foam in the middle of the glass, with a thin ring around the rim. A bit of lacing.

Sweet aromas of oak, restrained bourbon, baked apples and vanilla. The bourbon is more assertive in the mouth, but not at all overpowering. Plentiful sweetness of caramel malt, vanilla and oak. Maybe a hint of chocolate as well. Some roasted malt and a sort of grassy bitterness keep things in check. The finish is surprisingly dry, with a bit of warming alcohol. Mild bourbon/oak aftertaste.

Overall impression: Probably an nice candidate for cellaring, although the bourbon is perfectly integrated into the beer already. Very enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of foogerd
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown with hints of amber at the edges, small head which disappeared quickly and dissipated into a few sad bubbles.

S- Tons of sweet bourbon booze. Raisins, sugared malts, dark chocolate filled with raspberry.

T- Booze and brown sugared malts mingle with one another. This is drinking like a barleywine to me. Lots of wood and oak flavor drenched in booze.

M- Smooth creamy with enough carbonation.

D- It's a delicious brew that needs to be savored one of the best if not the best scotch ales Ive had.

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Photo of Auracom
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

EDIT - 2011 12 oz. revisit. Super-fresh release, bottled 19 days ago and literally arrived at my favorite retailer while I was standing in the beer section talking with a friend. Living proof that it is better to be lucky than smart. 12 oz. into a snifter.

(Note - My first experience with this was in Feb. 2011 at Kelleher's)

A - Light, thin, clear brown pour transitions into a deep caramel, mahogany-ruby in the glass. Less than a finger’s worth of offwhite head instantly settles into a couple of groups of bubbles. Looks decent enough.

S - Far better than my experience last winter on-tap. Vanilla and bourbon whiskey at the forefront morphs into caramel and alcohol. A bit phenolic. Raisin and oak underneath. Either I was served this in the incorrect glass (huge goblet) when I tried it in Peoria or something else was amiss because the aroma is far more potent this time around. Considerable improvement here.

T - Intial burst of bourbon whiskey, followed by a huge vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, and caramel sweetness. Front and middle of the tongue are complex and balanced, but backend is a tad uninvolving. Shockingly little alcohol presence, including a surprising lack of warming in the throat for something > 10%. I last described this as "mellow". Undecided about this descriptor thus far.

M - Light-medium body. It’s still a bit too light, very much in line with what I recall. Carbonation is a bit better and helps clear through some of the intensity of the flavors. Quite smooth. Far too short of a finish, though ever-so-slightly tannic from the barrels.

D - Yes, still very good in this department. Backwoods is truly a bastard because of how quickly a few pours could rush up on me if I got carried away (previously I commented about getting smashed off this).

I remain endlessly curious as to what age will do to my other bottles. Good stuff. This year's Backwoods and Breakfast Stout releases confirm for me that Founders is consistent.

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Photo of bamadog
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Absolutely fabulous drink, definitely becoming more and more of a fan of barrel-aged beers and items like this are going to make this a true trend. Founders really has yet to let me down.

Appearance: Pours a ruddy coppery/caramel brown that is fairly dark and shows some deep ruby highlights when held to the light; a small one finger head that just looks creamy fades pretty quickly to a thin and uneven frothy skim that looks closer to something that would sit on top of a glass of milk; body is mostly opaque but shows some light through it and some signs of moderate carbonation; decent washes of full lacing left sporadically on the sides of the glass.

Smell: My favorite part about this drink! Bourbon - big and up front; nice and sweet carmally maltiness and strong hints of vanilla and oakiness. Nose is strong with this one, no need to breathe too deep to pull out those scents.

Taste: Bourbon, but nice and smooth because of the big malty/carmally sweetness to it that helps mask the alcohol a bit (although it's still definitely present); nice vanilla presence and the flavors are rounded out in the end with a nice earthy woodiness. Very nice and not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Body is actually a little thinner than I thought it would be, but still maintains a nice creaminess; mouth, throat, chest and belly are left quite warm; I'm kind of surprised how watery my mouth is left as opposed to being dry from the ABV.

Drinkability: I love the smell and the flavors, but the detracting factors would be the higher ABV, the sweetness gets to be a bit much for my palate and stomach after a bit, and the cost - 14 bones for a 4 pack, while not necessarily unreasonable, would definitely dent the wallet if I wanted to enjoy this more often.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from a friend, '09 release...

A: Dark like a black iced coffee. Small white head that dissapates quickly

S: Smells almost like walnuts. Must be the smell of the oak bourbon. Small hints of hard liquor.

T: Hints of walnuts with a strong taste of coconut. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, so that's why I gave this one a 4. It's good, but too much coconut for me.

M: Fantastic amount of carbonation. Not too heavy, but not too light.

D: Goes down very easy. Just have to get past the coconut flavor on this to get it down.

All in all, if you like roasted nuts and coconut, then this is your brew. I love walnuts, but don't like coconuts, so this one is good for me, but not great. You might think otherwise.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a DFH signature glass. Bottled 9/28/12. Thanks, Andy.

A - Pours a two-faced dark color that depends on the lighting. Black walnut in the shade and a bright ruby color in the light. Very little head and just a trace of lacing.

S - The bourbon is immediately apparent with big sour mash and oak aromas. Some mellowing vanilla and earthy peat as well. Rich and sugary, full of dark fruits. Complex and powerful aroma that works really well.

T - Starts off with brown sugar and plum. A mix of fruits, including banana, give this some belgian characteristics. Caramel and molasses malts contribute to the sweetness. Vanilla comes through in the middle with some bitter baker's chocolate and oak. The bourbon is apparent on the finish, but not as powerfully as in the aroma. Very solid.

M - Initially a bit too carbonated, but after letting it sit for a few minutes it is damn near perfect. Smooth carbonation with a thick body that coats the tongue. Less booze flavor than I would have anticipated.

O - A very good take on a style I don't drink very often. There is a lot going on in the aroma with fruits, vanilla, and the forward bourbon contributions. The flavor is good, but doesn't live up to the aroma in my opinion. It improves considerably in flavor and mouthfeel as it warms. I am happy to have gotten a four pack so I can put a few down and try them with some age. Overall, a very good beer that I wish came to my area.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark brown with no clarity, head, or lace. Just dark!

S - Ok, sweetness, and bourbon. Bourbon dominates. Toffee, brown sugar.

T - Very sweet! Lots of sugar, toffee, caramel, and finishes with a huge burst of bourbon, from the aging process. Amazingly smooth for a bourbon barrel agad beer.

M - Medium bodied, smooth, lightly carbonated.

O - The best Bourbon barrel aged brew I have had. And I have not had many that I have enjoyed. This one is actually smooth and balanced. Good stuff!

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Photo of JamGrover1983
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle presence is strong. Can definately smell the alcohol and berry woody notes at the spout of the bottle. Initially poured about 2 ounces in a snifter. The color is rich and with full body. Upon initial swirl again the booze eminates strong but there is a very rich oak smell. The head is full but quickly dissipates as expected with the high alcohol content. The thickness of the beer is impressive and hold well to the glass. The temperature at taste is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit and this is where I feel the beer is at its best. Has a great mouth feel and the aging of the beer really shows through. The taste is super crisp and bites like a good whiskey. Over the course of an hour the drink warms but holds up well. Overall it makes for an overall enjoyable experience. There is a little room for improvement as the color muddied a bit as it warms , but I do enjoy this beer. Founders rarely disappoints me and this one holds up strong.

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Photo of retry4z
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle, chilled. Golden-brown with very little head. Huge bourbon aroma with caramel and sweet fruit notes. Taste includes toffee, marmelade, caramel, brown sugar, maple syrop, and vanilla, and leaves some bitterness on the throat. Medium carbonation with a full-bodied, syropy feel. Overall a nice example of bourbon flavor showing up on the nose but not as much on the tongue. A somewhat bitter scotch ale that's a sipper, and would go nicely with a cigar or a dessert.

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4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip: 11.04.10 consumption of 09.30.10 batch.
A: Pours a vigorous two finger head. The head is a light tan color, which sits atop a deep amber body, that show almost the deepest of black hazy. The head settles to a island of round head in the middle of the glass. The lacing that is left from the retreating head and sipping, is thick.

S: The aroma is a high intensity of scotch and oak. The warm note of whiskey is also present. There is a deep and boozy character to this aroma. A bit at the end, is still balanced by a very rounded edge for the ABV.

T/M: The taste is a bit masked on the front by the overly creamy and full mouthfeel. The body shows to be a nice rendition for the style, while adding notes of oak at the very end. The sweetness of malts shows some caramel aspects. Notes of the 10.2% are very relaxed and do not get in the way of altering overall enjoyment. The finish is expressed with strong oak notes and adds a adds a cake batter finish.

D: This beer is overly flavorful and very drinkable for the style. Oak adds a nice and lingering finish that it is warm and is enjoyed best in cold weather. Great brew and will enjoy to see how this beer develops.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured reddish-brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt and bourbon. The flavor was of sweet malt, alcohol, and syrup. It had a medium feel on the palate with light to mild carbonation. Overall this one was very nicely balanced with a nice flavor. The aroma on this one was quite nice as well. Probably one of my favorite Scotch Ales to date. It is also crazy drinkable to weigh in at 10.2%...

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Photo of mscudder
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep brown with a hint of amber. Two-finger light-khaki head. Retention is superb and leaves some lacing behind.

S - Big caramelized sugar, lots and lots of bourbon booze, vanilla and a touch of oak.

T - Sugars hit the tongue, followed by bourbon and wood. Sugars seem to be from some dark fruit, although nothing near the potency of a Belgian. As the beer warms, the booze takes the backseat, simply adding a subtle touch of heat throughout.

M - Warm throughout. Medium-plus body with fair carbonation.

O - This is a good beer that not many others mimic. The craftsmanship is noted and I look forward to grabbing a 4-pack each year.

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Photo of errantnight
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A smooth, easy sipper... once it's had a little bit of time. This beer just needs some time... time to round off the rough edges, time to tame any loose high alcohols.

Once it does, this beer is an absolute delight.

A rich, deep, lightly hazed amber brown with a tenacious little head.

The aroma brings big, delightful bourbon notes, forward but not searing, brown butter, brown sugar and vanilla.

On the palate this is rich, creamy and smooth, the bourbon dropping away to a caramel, vanilla, brown bread with toast. Whatever the bourbon barrels have stripped away in body with the wet from the barrels has been delicately laid back in with soft, supple tannins. And like a good bourbon, this warms gently as it drinks. And like a good barrel aged beer, presents no noticeable heat on the back palate as it swallows.

I have long been critical of over-barreled beers, and I imagine in previous years, or exceptionally fresh, that this beer could suffer from the traits it plays with here, but pulls off. I've had several over the last few months, and it's a beer that I'd always be glad to dust off from the cellar and pour into a snifter or tulip and nurse as the evening's cool settles in.

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Photo of ohiobrewtus
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Pours with extremely thin layer of head that is mildly off white. Very clear, reddish/copper color, bordering on brown.

Aroma - Malty sweet with dominant burnt/toasted caramel (likely from kettle caramelization) and slight hints of alcohol, toffee and biscuit. No hops present. Alcohol hotness increases significantly as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation. Overall a slightly creamy, smooth mouthfeel with just a hint of dryness in the finish.

Flavor - The burnt/toasted caramel from the nose dominate, but the toffee/biscuit and malty sweetness continue. Very faint earthy hop bitterness with a slight alcohol warmth in a finish that provides a faint touch of dryness on the back of the tongue and the very back of the roof of the mouth. Alcohol warmth in the finish increases significantly as it warms.

Overall - A great example of the style with exceptional caramel notes and a surprisingly subdued alcohol profile considering the 10.2% abv.

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Photo of chilly460
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a medium ruby brown color. It has a two finger light tan head on it, good lacing all the way down the glass

S - Whoa, big whiskey smell hits immediately. Follows with some brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, and more booze. Whiskey (oddly not much bourbon smell here, more raw alcohol type smell) overpowers everything else. Dirty Bastard is fairly hoppy for the style, but I don't pick up any hops in this beer.

T - Yahtzeee!!! The first sip hit like a ton of bricks, eyes watered as if I just had a shot of straight bourbon. Other patrons sitting around said the same thing, this keg must have been pulled from a very strong barrel that still had some bourbon in it. The taste is of bourbon with definite vanilla and oak notes. There are good notes of caramel, and canned fruit in a sweet syrup, some toffee too. Eventually, by about the fourth good sip, the bourbon hit calms down and you get a nice smoothing effect, plenty of complexity...the bourbon and sweetness of the beer come together well.

M - Thick mouthfeel with lower carbonation. This beer is smooth as all hell and chewy. I don't know how Founders gets the mouthfeel so perfect in everything from an IPA to a Scotch Ale, but they do. Once the booze numbs you, it goes down the hatch really well.

O - Definitely a sipper, but this is one that just comes together right. It would be better with less booziness on the initial hit, but that seemed to go away as it warmed and I got further into the glass.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,069 ratings.
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