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: 1,831 | Ratings: 8,055
Photo of vfgccp
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Chicory brown with solid black/brown core. Light rim of head with trace lacing.

S - Blast of bourbon. Hard woods, vanilla bean, brown sugar, booze, coconut. Almost overwhelming but it really grows on you.

T - Sweet molasses, bourbon. Vanilla, booze, oak, pepper, cream, touch of smoke. Background notes of raisins and dark dried fruits. Extremely strong. Unlike the nose, the flavor hits as hard on the last sip as it does on the first.

M - Medium, almost perfect, creamy body with a boozy dry finish. A little too much alcohol in the finish.

D - Way too powerful to rush through. It's a beer that should be enjoyed slowly, but it carries such a punch that you really don't have a choice.

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Photo of ekardz
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a deep mahogany color, tiny head quickly recedes, hazy, vary little carbonation. Looks delicious, excited to dive in. Smells very very boozy, bourbon, oak flavor. Some malty notes as well as vanilla and resiny - smells like it's going to be a strong one! WHOA! The taste blows me away! DELICIOUS! Super sweet. Malty, vanillay, maybe some raisin notes. Very smooth delicious, full bodied and no burn. Such an incredible mouth feel. INSANE drinkability. Will be seeking out this beer again!

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Photo of Axic10
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's.

Appearance: Dark brown with no head.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt and oak notes.

Taste: Heavy bourbon taste with hints of oak, vanilla and caramel malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and very smooth.

Drinkability: I feel that I often overlook this beer from Founders with KBS and CBS, but this is a very enjoyable and complex beer that I really do enjoy.

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Photo of Spider889
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

In some ways this is probably the best Scotch Ale I have ever had, and frankly I think it's because the style is full of too many mediocre beers. But in other ways this is a horrible example of the style because, frankly, there is little semblance of the base beer due to the overpowering effect of the barrel.

Either way, I'm still a fan of this beer!

It took some serious coaxing in order to get some head out of this beer. What results is a soapy yellowish head of 1/4 inch. It receded within a minute and I'm left with little but splotchy lace. The color is a deep burnt umber color with dark brown shades that almost reach purple, port-like hues. I imagine that the beer mimics what the inside of the oak barrel would look like: a dark, charred brown. Finally, the beer is hazed with lots of tiny particulate floating around.

Smells strong of Founders' barrels. I am instantly taken back to my experience with CBS - minus the stout, this beer has to be aged in the same, or similar, barrels. Lots of vanilla and sweet bourbon. Molasses in a diluted form wanders about, along with tobacco leaves and mild earthy notes, finished by light char and oak.

The flavor is complex and layered, though once again, heavily dominated by the barrel. Dark brown sugar provides a sweetness that balances out a bitterness in the beer (50 ibu's) that would normally seem too strong for a scotch ale. The bourbon flavors mask much of the bitterness though, which allows for it to play a positive role. There's a very light cinnamon graininess to the beer, though this is most likely just part of the wood aging. Plenty of vanilla and bourbon add smoothness as well as depth to the beer. The char of the oak barrels shines through ever so faintly. The alcohol is a little boozy but ultimately pleasantly warming. The more it warms peat and more bitterness push through. I really enjoyed the flavor of this beer, but I still have to say that the base scotch ale is fairly difficult to discern for me.

The mouthfeel is packed with dry oakiness. Warm alcohol makes this a sipper. The consistency is slick but smooth with low carbonation.

A truly solid beer, very likable. Drinkability suffers somewhat due to the price and availability, not to mention the abv. I look forward to the release next year.

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Photo of Brandegee
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Rich, amber brown, slight hint of red. Pour reveals thickness of the brew. Head is thin, but lacy on the walls of the cognac snifter I'm using for the beverage.

S: 80% bourbon with about 15% malt and 5% oak. Intoxicating on the first smell and taste. Not as attractive as glass empties but by no means unpleasant. There's some tobacco notes there as well.

T: The focus is immediately on the consistency of the ale, which is syrupy with gentle carbonation. The bourbon notes are infused throughout this ale, and it's the predominant flavor. But somewhere in there is also a peppery flavor, or perhaps a spice of some kind. It adds complexity, which is nice. The end shows some malty notes. With aging the finishing flavors might grow.

M: Heavy, heavy, like a bourbon barleywine. Low carbonation.

D: I wasn't really aware this was supposed to be a Scotch ale when I bought it. It's not really like any Scotch ale I've ever had (Scotch strong w/ bourbon?). But it was overall excellent and one of Founder's better efforts.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a deep burnt brown, creating a smooth tan head, of about a quarter inch. Mostly opaque, with some red light coming through the edges.

S - Warm vanilla and bourbon on the front. raisins, caramel, and a bit of yeast.

T - bourbon is in great balance with the sweet and savory malt character. A touch of vanilla on the finish.

M - it's a little bit thinner than expected. nice and creamy, though.

D - It's hard to put down. This is a very enjoyable and drinkable beer.

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Photo of bruemaster
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i stumbled upon Backwoods bastard at a local bar, as a lover of scotch and beer i gave it a taste.

A: Dark amber color, had a thick head that lasted through the drinking of the beer

S: On initial smell this beer reeks of whisky, with all of the taste notes that go along with it. since whisky is nosed and not often drank when reviewed the smell can tell you a lot as it did with this beer.

T: Initial taste is very much like scotch minus the hard burn of 40% alcohol. the after taste is sweet and very malty...pleasing to the palate.

D: this is not a beer that i would wont to consume a lot of in one night but will definitely have again. its smooth to drink and full of flavor

final note: if you like the taste and the aroma of scotch this beer is perfect.

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Photo of russwbeck
3.84/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A deep, hazy, brown pour with hardly any tan head.

S: Bourbon smell mainly (go figure) and some oak, but also a hint of a sweetness I can't quite place.

T: Tastes of Bourbon to start, which subsides to a sweet malt finish.

MF: Low carbonation. The medium body is just short of syrupy.

D: The Bourbon does not take control of this, like I've experienced before with other barrel aged beers, and it finishes quite smooth.

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Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this average brew into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was a strong tea colored affair. The head was non-existent with only a slight tan few bubbles on top. The beer had a slight sour smell but was very carbonated feeling in the mouth. I will not buy this one again.

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Photo of aasher
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a maple syrupy, thick mahogany with reddish highlights. It is really thick. The smell is of sweet maple and bourbon, that's about it. The flavor is sweet maple, bourbon, and a lot of alcohol. The alcohol is very present in both the taste and after taste. Somehow that doesn't matter. It's still a great Scotch ale. It drinks exceptionally smooth and coats both the glass and the palate. The only thing holding back the drinkability is the ever present bourbon. Very good beer.

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Photo of garbercury
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter...

A--sticky lacing, beige head, deep, dark amber color...

S--Just a wonderful aroma on this one. Bourbon notes of course, but the oak is complimented with a fruity background along with a nice bit of vanilla...

T--Heavy on the bourbon. Still nice bits of oak in the profile, but a think a little age to mellow this bourbon would do wonders, and make it a near perfect score.

M--Velvety mouthfeel, good carbonation, but not too much.

D--This a boozy brew, and if you are not into bourbon aged beer, dont bother. This is a great beer, a truly exceptional brew by an incredible brewery.

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Photo of ms11781
2.78/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 10/02/2010. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a very cloudy, very dark brown color with a small tan head that doesn't last very long. No real lacing to speak of.

Nose is a lot of bourbon up front. Not really overpowering as the scent isn't strong at all. But it is all bourbon. Slight oak and maybe a hint of sweet malt but not much at all.

Taste is some bourbon up front but it fades quickly to reveal a very sweet malt that is almost candy like. Slight warming from the alcohol as each sip finishes. Not really the malt flavor I expect from a scotch ale. Not even close actually.

Feels medium to thick in the mouth. Low carbonation that doesn't seem out of the ordinary for a beer of this ABV and style.

Drinkability is ok. Goes down smooth enough and, while the alcohol is high, it's not really a problem. Definitely a one and done due to the ABV though.

This is a difficult beer to rate for me because I do like some things about it but it doesn't have any characteristics of a scotch ale. Tastes like a decent bourbon barrel "something", just not a decent bourbon barrel aged scotch ale.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

stamped bottled on 11/05/09, aged for a little over a year.

opaque dark brown, with ruby highlights when held to the light. thin white head, slight lacing.

smells just as advertised - oaky whiskey aroma, a little vanilla. very pleasant as it warms.

in the taste, bourbon flavor with a little smokiness. like an ultra smooth version of scotch ale. lower carbonation, medium to thick body.

although a bit of bourbon flavor, there is no booziness or alcohol burn. great to sip, very tasty

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Photo of tburus
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into the Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a deep mahogany with small amount of lacing that lingers throughout.

Smell: Beautiful vanilla/bourbon smell. Not as strong as the real thing, but among the best I've smelled from a barrel-aged beer. From the first whiff I knew I needed to go buy another 4-pack of this stuff.

Taste: Yeah! Great bourbon front with the sour and malt finish of a scotch ale (i.e. it's Dirty Bastard counterpart).

Mouthfeel: Nice sour and malt scotch ale aftertaste with hints of bourbon and that wonderful warming sensation right in the center of my chest.

Drinkability: Okay, so I know for the regular beer drinker this may be way too strong, but as far as barrel-aged goes, I find this one to be highly drinkable. It really doesn't give off a heavy booziness unlike some other offerings, which is nice. If I could only drink one barrel-aged beer this might very well be it. Great job!

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Photo of dtivp
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep brown with a very nice light tan head with good retention that settled into a nice collar with very good lacing on the glass.

Aroma was sweet with dark fruits, some vanilla, oak and bourbon.

The taste follows the nose with a very nice smoked oak with bourbon. There is a sweetness of fig, brown sugar and a very slight hint of mocha.

Mouthfeel is a rich and smooth medium bodied beer with light carbonation. Even though the bourbon is very dominant, the alcohol is not over whelming for a 10% plus ABV.

This is a very nice enjoyable beer to be enjoyed at a slow pace, the sweetness dies down as the beer reaches room temperature making it a little more enjoyable to me. Great job Founders.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-very dark brown with a thin white head

S-some mocha and bourbon, but its a mild strength

T-mmm this is quite interesting!! it starts with an amazing hit of bittersweet chocolate. the after-taste is like a dark chocolate milk shake. the flavoring in this beer is extremely strong and rich. this is a great one!

M-this is very thick and heavy, medium but soft carbonation with a dry finish

D-high ABV? i think not. the taste is amazing and it stays so well. there is no alcohol note whatsoever. i loved this beer and i hope to have a lot more of it!

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Photo of kk73
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into my glass. Thanks to BA Wisconsinality for this bottle.

A - Pours a very rich dark brown, deep mahogany. A nice carmel colored head forms and slowly dissipates leaving some lacing.

S - Oak, lots of bourbon, and sweet candied sugar.

T - What you get in the nose is what you get in taste. Lots of oak and bourbon. Sweet candied sugar and some vanilla notes. Nicely balanced and I do not find this one to be very hot.

M - Rich and creamy medium bodied, and lightly carbonated. Every sip seems a mouthful of bourbon but not overpowering, a real pleasure to drink.

D - This beast qualifies as a nice a slow sipper. High abv and bourbon foward make this one to seek out for those who love bal-aged beers. Very good and well crafted makes this one worth revisiting again.

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Photo of psuKinger
2.97/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into standard shaker pint glass because I need to save my snifters for New Year's Day football/friends tomorrow. No freshness date readily visible on the bottle, but for a big 10.2% scotch ale like this I don't anticipate age to be an issue.

A: Hazy dark brown color with a nice bubbly 1 finger white head that dissipated quickly.

It did leave a moderate amount of nice lacing on my glass as I worked through it.

S: Huge sweet smell of prunes, licorice, and other dark fruits and candied sugars is detectable even as I pour, before I even try to put my nose to the glass for a test.

When I go to my nose I can pick up a little alcohol as well.

T: Taste follows the nose, dark fruits and candied sugar with an alcohol presence. I can definitely pick up on the bourbon-barrel flavors. This is only my second bourbon-barrel aged brew, but the Goose Island Bouron County Stout that I'd had before this had similar charachteristics, so I think that's a good indication that I'm picking up on the *notes* that I should be.

The taste quickly turns from cool, light, and carbonated to full as the dark fruits and candied sugars move in quickly at the middle of the taste. The beer finishes with the distinct sweetness/pucker of bourbon and a warm booziness on the tongue.

M: This beer is well-carbonated and sticky sweet in the mouth, and finishes with a boozy-warm feeling.

D: I think I just don't much care for bourbon-barrel aged beers. This beer has a lot of interesting things going on, but it's just "not for me". A little boozier than I'd like, but it's really that overwhelming bourbon-sweetness that turns me off here. And at 10.2%, you probably wouldn't want to pound several of these in a given night even if you liked it.

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Photo of tewaris
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is the bourbon barrel aged version of Dirty Bastard. 12 oz. bottled 11/16/09 poured into a 3 Philosophers glass on 12/20/2010.

Appearance 4/5
Deep with the gravity of molten lava, and yet so clear. Viscous and mighty looking with a murky, bubbly head that left excellent lacing as it receded. This one also has lots of floaties, but not as disgusting as Dirty Bastard.

Aroma 4/5
Sweet like bourbon, but lots of Scotch like notes, caramel, toffee, perfume. Complex, but weak.

Taste 4.5/5
Hard to say if mixing Scotch and Bourbon is always a good idea, but I think it works for this ale. There are distinct smoky notes of Islay whisky. Slightly sweet with roast and smoke in finish with a distant, but present, Single Malt purity. Finishes a little astringent (welcome) but still very smooth, and sweet. Alcohol is softly present. Some dry fruit notes as well. A fine, complex, and subtle beer but doesn't achieve greatness, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel 4/5
The body is thinner than what I would have preferred, but alright given the base beer. Carbonation is low and fitting.

Drinkability 4/5
Good. The impression of Scotch whisky is very well done.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My thanks out to drizzam for the gift of fine beverage.

A - Deep brown body topped by a light brown head with nice stamina and fine lacing.

S - Plums, figs, brown sugar, and a hint of black licorice are all accented by the constricting shape of the snifter.

T - Rich malt base with flavors of chocolate, sweet plums and sugar cookies. It has a slightly bitter accent to it that really makes this an interesting brew. I really like the flavors and the and complexity of the taste.

M - The feel is soft and rather silky in the beginning and middle. The ending and finish has a slight coarse touch to it that helps to bring out some of the complex flavors.

~ For a beer with an ABV over 10% the alcohol is caped very well. The complexity of the characters in this beer make it one that I wish I had more of to enjoy. Overall this is a very good beer and one you should certainly get your hand on.

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Photo of TriGuy20
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Backwoods Bastard poured into goblet

A: Dark mahogany/ Touch of head/ nice lace clings to side of class
S: Carmel/ Maple/ Oak/ Booze-Scotch/ Vanilla/ Malt
T: The caramel comes though nice on the palate with a nice vanilla accent. The booze/ scotch is quite prominent but does not overpower. On the finish there is a nice alcohol burn, very warming.
MF: Full body with a mild creamy texture. Coats the mouth nicely.
D: One bottle of this does me just right. Definitely a sipper

Really enjoy this beer! I feel that it will be better with a little age; the alcohol will have a chance to balance out. The finish could be a little longer. For a sipper I wish this beer displayed a little more complexity as it warms.

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Photo of Pahn
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Thanks to fellow BA morningthief for the bottle.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch, foamy, off-white head that dissipates quickly. Pours a semi-translucent dark red brown, with what appears to be some small bits of sediment. Leaves small, occasional spots of lacing.

Smell: Strong bourbon, vanilla and coconut. Chocolaty, with a little dark fruit (date) aroma along with the sweet maltiness and oak/bourbon. Good.

Taste: Follows the nose, but somehow it's so mild and smooth. It reminds me of Bourbon County Stout, not in that they taste remotely similar but in how perfectly the influence of barrel aging is integrated with the rest of the beer. There's very clear flavors of bourbon and oak, along with some chocolate and sweet, creamy malt flavors. Gets hot for a second, but stops leaving very little aftertaste.

The flavor is not very complex, but what's there is excellent. Tempted to give it a 4~ for being a little simplistic and not providing a long, warming and satisfying aftertaste, but also tempted to give it a 5 for how it perfects the balance of big malty scotch ale with bourbon and oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Creamy, but not very. Could stand to be fuller bodied. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Almost too easy to drink. Alcohol catches up on you, and the glass empties fast.

Backwoods Bastard is a very enjoyable beer. It simultaneously gives a tutorial as to why people age beer in bourbon barrels, and a benchmark against which one can measure the success of other barrel aged beers. Worth the large pricetag (around $15~ per 4pack if I'm not mistaken).

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Photo of Slatetank
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to weeare138 for this growler shared with tenderbranson69, consumed from a duvel tulip.

A dark ruddy brown with translucent clarity and thick beige cap which leaves a film of spotty lace and settles to a ring of fine beads. The smell is loaded with lots of wood and caramel w/ vanilla and bourbon providing a strong ester and slight spice w/ gentle alcohol indicating a high gravity brew awaits. The smell has light maple and nutty toffee accents in the mix. The feel is thick and rich w/ substantial strength apparent w/ mildly sweet texture and semi-high bitterness w/ a lot of astringency. The alcohol has a slight drying effect as it finishes w/ moderate roastiness.

The flavor of the Scotch ale is strong and rich with a toffee quality w/ pine from the hops and lots of vanilla from the barrel. The taste is nutty with earthy flavor and mild woody taste like a vanilla toffee spice with a moderately strong bourbon flavor. There is a bitter presence that dominates w/ a caramel candy and bitter presence w/ more sweetness evident in the taste as it warms. I was overjoyed when Mike offered this growler to me -A wonderful oak and bourbon element presents itself so well w/ lots of roasted and candy-like notes yet strength is high in the flavor and feel. It fits the style well and has exceptional drinkability in my opinion. I was truly grateful for the gift -I almost drank a whole growler save for 2 pints.

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Photo of SASN
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A : very nice dark brown with a golden tint with a small amount of head

S: caramel and bourbon-milder bourbon aroma than I would have guessed

T: excellent, smooth, with a very well balanced amount of bourbon with a trace of caramel like sweetness

M: again, smooth with a medium body

D: you can have more than one but eventually the alcohol will limit you

Conclusion: one of my favorite beers

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Photo of Pellinore1
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours deep, cloudy amber, with about a finger of tan head.

Powerful nose of oak and bourbon, with a bit of fruit as well.

The smell does not lie. This beer starts with flavors of bourbon and wood aging, and follows with vanilla, caramel, a bit of fruit, and alcohol warmth at the end.

Smooth and thick, this is pleasant to drink. The alcohol is clearly there, but not overwhelming.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,055 ratings.
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