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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): 11.60%

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: 1,793 | Ratings: 7,907
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired this 2009 bottle in a trade with nflmvp. Thanks Steve! ABV listed at 8.7%.

Poured into a Rémy Martin snifter.

Appearance: Tan, foamy crown quickly dissipates to a hair-thin halo. The body is a deep auburn color that turns crimson when held to light. Yellow-orange near the edges. Clarity is nice, but I spot quite a few floaties inside. When swirled, the beer leaves an oily residue coupled with spotty lacing on the walls of the glass - neither of which have a lot of staying power though. I'm excited. Time to dig in!

Smell: Strong molasses/caramel, sweet bourbon, and loads of grain. Mmmmm... this is bourbon barrel-aging done right! Alcohol is present but totally tolerable. Vanilla and flowery esters complete the aroma.

Taste: Clean grains, caramel, and bourbon. More earthy and alcoholic than the aroma let on, but still damn good. Subtle, flowery hops come through in the finish, mixing with dry bourbon. After reading a couple of the other reviews, I started picking up on raisins, too. Still, I'm not getting a whole lot of complexity from this one, but it is well-balanced and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Rich in flavor, bu the body is thin and oily with very light carbonation. Finishes dry and prickly, leaving bourbon-y undertones all over the palate. Still, this is working well for me right now - it's only 11:00AM. Still, a thicker body would be nice.

Drinkability: I just bombed a final exam, and Backwoods Bastard is acting as the perfect comfort beer. A little more complexity would be nice, but then again my mind is totally shot right now. Not great, but certainly recommended.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice light brown with some ruby edges, no noticable head and very little lacing. Smell is really nice, chocolate, toffee, bourbon.
Taste is nicely sweet, starts with a mild chocolate note backed up by the toffee sweetness. The bourbon is noticable but not overpowering. There's some wood notes as well but this mostly about the sweetness. The alcohol is slightly noticable but very pleasant.
Very drinkable, too bad it's so rare.

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Photo of OmahaKF
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 version. Smell is of bourbon, caramel, oak and vanilla.

Taste is complex with notes of dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla (which comes out more prominently as the beer warms), and the burnt top of creme brulee. There's just a slight alcoholic burn at the finish, but it melds well with the rich flavors of the beer. This year's version seems better than last year.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this. Bottled 10/07/11. Tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber (with a nice gradient of color) with a cap of light sand colored head which fizzles out pretty quickly. Minimal lacing and so-so retention.

S: Layers of oak, vanilla, chocolate covered caramel, sweet bourbon, a little booze and cinnamon.

T: Caramel, oak and vanilla, some tannins, dry fruit (cherry), some charred notes, finishing with very slight hop bitterness (that seems a little out of place).

M: Medium-full body and medium-light carbonation. Alcohol is remarkably well hidden given the 10.2% ABV.

O: Very tasty, and pretty drinkable if you're in the mood for an oak bomb. The barrel treatment dominates here, but it's well executed so it's hard to complain. As always, it would be nice if the base beer showed through more.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Thanks, cvm4.

A: Apricot amber. Not much head or lacing.

S: The barrel aged bourbon comes rumbling through. Strong and inviting.

T: Whoa! Bourbon rich with vanilla and caramel. A biting good finish. Alcohol seeps in with a 10.2 buzz. Sweet, robust. Reminds me of a Red Brick 17th Anniversary.

M: Light with low carbonation.

O: A fabulous sipper. One to celebrate with. Slow down and taste the burn.

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Photo of WunderLlama
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a glass

Clear Dark ruby brown with carbonation leading to a thin taupe layer of foam. Nice lacings.

This beer smells great. Bourbon over sweet malts.

Bourbon notes on the first sip. Alcohol present. Sweet & smooth . Big mouthfeel.

A winter warmer for those cold, cold days.

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Photo of partypak
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

start from a 12oz bottle 2012 vintage

S) the nose starts with burbon, dark cherry, prune, dark fruit.

A) dark cola with a dark red tint, 1 finger head lasted a while, little laceing.

T) burbon up frount, creamy, a little sweat in the middle then dry twords the end
The burbon sticks with you for a wile.

M) creamy but seems a little light not to heavy in the mouth.

O) A great sipper if you like burbon. not so easy to get when in season. stock up and
enjoy it as it ages.

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Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

10/13/11 bottle

Deep ruby color (back lit by my tablet) slow pour no head.

Nice mix of caramel malt and oak/bourbon. Some dark fruits. Real nice smells.

Flavor follows aroma. Caramel but not really sweet. Dark, dry fruits. Whisky. Touch of pepper.

Some heft coupled with some tannin. Finish is some what dry, chalky. Warming alcohol on the trip down.

Pretty good over all. Wish I had more.

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Photo of davesway10
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer, the bourbon, vanilla flavors are awsome. So far, ive been nothing but impressed with what founders has to offer. I will buy whatever these guys have to offer. A bit boozy, but this is what i love from barrel aged beers. Can't wait until next years version of this, i'll age at least one until then maybe more.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep brown with smallish cream colored head. Head dissipates a bit quicker than expected leaving spots of lace and a ring around the glass. Nose is dates, burnt sugars, vanilla, barrel cellar mustiness, and a bit of sour apple. Flavor follows, and although initially sweet, turns much drier that expected and quite woody with mostly oak into the finish where it wasn't very present early. Hot/boozy even after cellaring for 1 year. Mouthfeel is not cloying at all, but just medium with the booze thinking it out. Overall, a good beer, but I can't go as high as most here as I just don't think it comes together cohesively in the end.

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Photo of marvin213
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seriously--dude with long gray beard and no irises just staring at me from the bottle begins this unique experience. Oh yeah--dude's holding an ax. Does anybody (consciously, anyway) consider bottle label when judging appearance? The beer itself is much better looking, and certainly less creepy. It's like a thick lookin' syrup as I gently pour this one into a pint glass and, unlike most beers, the head forms more as the brew just settles into its holder.

The smell is friggin' awesome. Now--full disclosure--I enjoy a good bourbon now and again, but as I ease into adulthood in part by transitioning into relatively tame beer, I'm enthralled by the return of this aroma. It smells like my old fraternity house...but without the cig smoke. Less beer, more bourbon. Like a baby's smile, it's oh so sweet!

This bottled beer looks and smells so cool that I knew it'd be difficult for the taste to meet the bar, and I'm afraid it doesn't. Don't get me wrong--this is a good beer, but it's so like bourbon that it's as if it's not quite grown. Back to my baby theme, I feel like I robbed the cradle by opening and drinking a bourbon before it was fully grown! I actually love this drink...it's just kinda wierd for a beer. I've had the Allagash like this, and I think this one is better. Where in the Allagash the bourbon (as I recall) is over the top, this is simply a good, well-blended, bourbon-influenced ale.

The mouthfeel is okay with a sweetness. Sweetness makes it a wee bit better than average in my book. Carbonation is good. As the liquid sits in my mouth and I can no longer smell it, it begins to lose that bourbon touch. It returns a tad in the aftertaste.

Now, this is a genuinely bourbon-influenced beverage. I've noticed it's different than the wee-heavy in the descriptor above, if for nothing else than the ABV on this joker is 10.2%. As such, I don't recommend you funnel this one. Tell ya what, though--this beer is unique and tasty enough to include in any tasting. I think it demonstrates a little about how versatile a beer can be. That being said, I probably won't ever drink two back-to-back. I will, however, strive to always keep one on hand.

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Photo of socon67
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber color with a creamy foam. Lacing is nice, and with solid foam retention.

S - Scents of candied cherries, oak, and caramel.

T - Sweet flavor of cherries and some notes of vanilla & butterscotch.There is a warming boozy feel in the finish.

M - Good balance for the complexity of this. A fairly heavy beer, and the potency makes this a beer that would be hard ot pair with food.

O - A great example of this style, and one of the sweeter scotch ales out there. Worth trying like many of the Founders offerings.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby, brown color with a fluffy two finger khaki color head. Aroma is scotch/bourbon, caramel, smoke, and dark fruits. Taste follows with bourbon, smoke, dark fruit, and a bit of spice. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a very nice take on a scotch ale, and not overwhelming with barrel presence, which helps keep everything balanced.

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- amber brown color, not much head, not any real retention, translucent
s- slight bourbon smell
t- not as overpowering in bourbon as I though it would be. I'm not a big bourbon barrel fan, but I'm enjoying this
m- full and thick
d- probably could only have 1 a night. But I bet it would age supremely

I really enjoyed this experience. When I started I didn't even think I could finish it, but as it warmed, it took on entirely different characteristics. Like I said, I'm not a big bourbon barrel fan, but this was a nice surprise.

Edited on 2/4/12- I love this beer now. It's one of my favorites. I'll try to get it every year.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
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 IBUnit63
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. into Cab glass...

Deep, dark raisin/bourbon color wityh thin, wispy, yeasty head. Maybe not huge lacing but a lot of thick trails.

Ooohhh, bourbon/vanilla oak is creamy and woody as hell. Slightly cool to the nose at first with some raisins, oatmeal and peanut butter. Maybe a tad too much salt and butter (diacetyl?) but very good nonetheless.

There's a whole lot going on here. Oak, vanilla, caramel malt, coffee, dry hot chocolate, bourbon and raisins. Finish is even, clean and powerful. With warmth, bourbon emerges forth to calm sweetness.

Complex feel to this - takes a while to get together but emerges with Beautiful Chemistry on the back end. Finish is full - wood cleans this out - bourbon provides mild alcohol burn. Creamy caramel malt and vanilla coats, soothes, relieves.

Sweetness comes back with time and brings some booze with it too. It's enjoyable as hell but has some heft in there. Definitely a sipper.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours a two finger, off-white head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Deep ruby color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Nice oak and bourbon nose. Flavor is similar with bourbon and oak, some malty sweetness. The high ABV is hidden. $3.50 for a 12oz bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12-ounce stubby with a twist-off top and a sketchy old dude on the label wielding a double-bitted axe, poured into a shaker pint glass yields a clear ruddy-amber body garnished with a trillion tiny particulates in suspension and a finger's depth of creamy light tan foam on top. The head collapses slowly into a soft skim with a creamy collar that deposits patches and fine-bubbled rings of lacing on the glass.

The smell is darkly sweet and malty with succulent caramel and plenty of charred oaky, perfumey notes of savory sherry and rich, smoky bourbon.

The taste is malty-chocolatey sweet with a fine fruitiness and light charred smokiness. Mild toffee and rich dark caramel notes are spritzed with vanilla infused simple syrup and a drop of deliciously warm bourbon. As the drink warms a bit more, a touch of toffee sweetness really comes through, but is kept in check with a bit of bitter char and a cleansing, palate-tingling alcohol note of fermenting plums and red apples. A lingering mild and smoky bitterness in the aftertaste anxiously awaits the drinker's next swig, and a significant warming in the belly reminds him that this axe-wielding Bastard packs a wallop!

Backwoods Bastard is on the full-bodied side with milky feel and mild carbonation. Alarmingly drinkable for a 10.2 percenter.

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Photo of NiceTaps
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in an Imperial pint glass.

A- Pours a rich reddish-brown color with a deep brown core. The hardly-there-at-all head is off-white in color; it leaves some lacing. Not much in bubbles, either. For such a big ale, it looks sheepish.

S- Thankfully, the bourbon and booze are not overpowering. It smells like "beer". There are vanilla, oak notes, sweet and roasted malts. Not smoky, but there's a buttery char in those malts.

T- There's no denying the bourbon, but there's more. The vanilla, oak, sugar, and malts are all there, not hidden by the barrel aging. I get some white chocolate, too.

M- Surprisingly good , the lack of head and bubbles is overcome. There's some tingle to go with the velvety smooth body that the barrel aging imparts. No booze burn, that could be a result of the 50 IBUs. Taste and aroma improve as the beer warms.

O- This beer is better than my rating. Its appearance holds back the number here, but that's a mere technicality. As BBAs go, this one's done right.

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Photo of SFC21
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage, bottled on 10/6/15, poured into teku. Cola colored body that pours with very little head. For how little carbonation appears to be in this beer a quick swish provides a light, creamy, bubbly mouthfeel. Caramel and light bourbon hints on the nose, although the aroma doesn't jump out of the glass. The taste is caramel candy, lightly smoky malts and a big bourbon finish. Great beer that gets better as it warms.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich red-brown hue with plenty of haze. Head is an attractive finger of frothy tan foam with a bit of an amber cast. Quite good.

Smell: very sweet aroma, to the point of a malt molasses, perhaps. Along with that is a good woody aroma from the barrel, contributing vanilla and almond-like character. Very good, although massively sweet.

Taste: sweet malt, vanilla, alcohol, more sweetness, tannic woodiness, and finally a bit of harsh bitterness at the end. The alcohol lends a bit of dark fruit character, cherry and plum, but is generally a bit on the hot side for me. I like a lot of the flavors here, but they just come together in a pretty harsh way. Good, but it lacks the smoothness I like in the style.

Mouthfeel: huge body, great carbonation, silky smooth creamy wonderful texture. The body on this thing is just massive, as the sweetness ought to indicate. Wonderful.

Overall: I know this is supposed to be a strong beer, but its strength is a little bit raw; as I said I'd prefer it a bit smoother. Still, quite a good beer.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was served into a glass stein. Thanks Geneseohawk for the great extra.

Appearance- The Bastard pours with an attractive auburn body. There are some orange-ruby highlights. The off-white head built to a finger. It does not have great retention and minimal lacing.

Smell- There is some sweet caramel and vanilla. The oak comes through with a distinct musty and smokiness. There is also some bourbon heat.

Taste- The bourbon flavor leads, but gives way to the sweet malts. There is some caramel and vanilla. The oakiness is present here, but not as big as in the nose. There is a little bit of heat in the finish.

Mouth feel- Founders sure knows how to handle carbonation, very creamy. The finish was a little dry and harsh due to the heat.

Overall- This beer is very good. The oak notes really tie it together and give nice parity to the sweet caramel malt and vanilla.

I had an early 2010 vintage and picked up more vanilla and molasses on the palate with less bourbon burn. The mouth feel was also better, being more creamy and less dry, not as much heat.

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Photo of nanertak
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip.

Appearance: Poured 1 1/2 finger amber head with hints of red. Dark red/brown in color, very clear.

Nose: LOT of sweet malt. Oak and honey in the background, a bit of boozy sweetness.

Taste: Sweet malts up front, fades into oak, finishes strong toasted oak and medium malt. Not much hint of the 10% ABV, very well masked. Small amount of heat on the breath. Little sweet for my tastes.

Mouthfeel: Round, somewhat oily. Mild carbonation. Bordering on cloyingly round.

Drinkability: Very slow occasional sipper. Strong flavor, strong ABV.

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Photo of ejquin
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
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 WeedKing4
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a dark hazy brown with little floaties seen in the glass. You can smell the burbon on this one, and its definately in the taste too. Mixed with a dark malt taste, and it does drink so damn smooth. The 10.20% is very well hidden. This was a decent beer and glad I got to try it. Never had a burbon barrel aged beer before. Nice offering.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,907 ratings.
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