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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,796 | Ratings: 7,917
Photo of emmasdad
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the bottle a deep, rich mahogany color, with a nice cap of light brown foam, which rather quickly settles in along the side of the glass, leaving only random bubbles upon the surface. Aromas of bourbon, dark brown sugar, caramel, toffee and vanilla. On the palate, this beer is absolutely delicious, with more great bourbon flavor, toasted malt, caramel and a little bit of milk chocolate. The bourbon here is integrated so well, and the 10% alcohol is barely noticeable. Another incredible effort from Founders.

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

tasted side by side with Dirty Bastard (DB)

appearance - dark, red, nutty haze. good carbonation.

smell - caramel/vanilla and bourbon. booze smell isn't as strong as DB

taste - very smooth, far less boozy and bitter than DB. caramel and vanilla sweetness balanced well with the bourbon flavor. Higher ABV than DB, but booze flavor is very well masked.

mouth - medium to heavy body. carbonation slightly less than DB.

overall - phenomenal beer. DB is good, but this blows it away. i could drink this every day.

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Photo of TK5150
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mixed review of the 2009 and 2011 vintages.

A-Dark brown with a beige head. When held up to the light is a nice dark amber.

S- Sweet bourbon, big vanilla, toasty oaky notes, caramel. Great.

T- Sweet bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, lingering caramel sweetness. One of the best caramel flavors I've had in a beer actually. Somewhat watery at the finish though. Dry lingering effect long after the swallow.

M- Medium bodied (2009), somewhat fiull bodied (2011).

D- Dangerously drinkable and one of the two best scotch ales I've ever had (the other was also barrel aged).

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Photo of BTPete
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured to tulip

A: Dark brown, minimal head and lacing. Lots of little bubbles rising from bottom of glass.

S: Smells like sweet booze with hints of oak/vanilla.

T: Sweet, malty, with some caramel or toffee, dark fruit. The oak gives nice hints of underlying vanilla.

M: nice medium/full bodied beer. Pretty carbonated.

D: Shockingly smooth and drinkable for 10.2%. Obviously you could have a few of these and they would sneak up on you. I think this one is another winner from Founders.

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Photo of wxjunkie
3.48/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Backwoods Bastard

Appearance: Mahogany with a light creamy head

Nose: brown sugar first, then a little bourbon. Both aromas are tough, too, they have some bite and after you smell this beer you'll be a little better prepared for what's next ...

Taste was carbonated for sure, but all that aging in oak barrels hits you quick and the 10% ABV is obvious right away.

Palette: Again, carbonated and quite heavy.

Drinkability: Do you like heavy? Do you like bourbon? This is a good beer for you then. At more than $5 a bottle in Louisville, I will buy a bottle every now and then for an in-your-face bourbon beer experience, but I doubt I'd ever order a second.

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

pours a dark cola color with a light creamy head that dissipates quickly. good lacing down pint glass

wow, love the smells that attack the nose! sweet brown sugar, molasses, vanilla & bourbon

starts off caramel, brown sugar & lots of bourbon. the malts go away quickly leaving only the oak, bourbon and strong alcohol taste behind

medium/full body that is slighty heavy. the carbonation is quite noticeable

I don't know if it is very drinkable to the average joe but I happen to love bourbon so its right up my alley. the 10% abv & bourbon barreled aged can really cause this one to sneak up on ya! definitely worth the experience.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh Growler from Fatheads

A-pours a slightly hazy sunset red color, hues of orange shining through. The head is a light tan color, tight, about one finger with some retention and a little lace.

S-notes of bourbon right up front, light hints of oak and vanilla in the middle, dark fruity sweetness in the back. Plums, figs, and rum soaked raisins.

T-the taste has a lot of great components that work really well together, it isn't huge but it is extremely well done. The bourbon is faint and the oak and vanilla are more pronounced. Hints of chocolate at first, toffee and caramel take over. The vanilla oakiness and hints of bourbon are in the middle with some sweeter dark fruits in the back. Ripe plum is quite nice with notes of slightly rum soaked raisins. The finish actually adds a touch of herbal hoppiness and a hint of bitterness to throw even more complexity but not over-doing anything, it works so well!

M-medium body and extremely smooth; but the carbonation is just a little light. The soft smooth feeling on the palate is enticing, it coats the mouth completely and again very softly. The finish is a little bit thin, not quite enough carbonation taking away slightly from the overall feel of the beer; but the smooth, syrupy, soft texture is quite nice.

D-this is actually insanely drinkable for a 10%+ beer. The alcohol is so well hidden, slightly warm at the very back but not at all detracting from the beer, just letting you knoww this is a beast. The complexity is a beautiful blend or flavors that work well together and transition so nicely. Glad I have a whole growler for the evening!

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for this great brew!

12oz stub into a snifter glass

A- Pours a dark cloudy reddish brown with a thin off white head that's barely there.

S- Strong bourbon smell hits the nose first, following lingering oak/wood notes. Sweet malts and caramel are also apparent.

T- Creamy caramel malts compliment a strong bourbon and vanilla wood flavor that I really love. For being such a high ABV beer the alcohol is hidden very well! Big fan of that

M- Smooth medium body, with lower carbonation and little bitterness in the finish. A real easy drinker.


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Photo of rhinos00
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

2008 vintage

A- Pours a dark brown color with shades of tan throughout. Produced a fingers width of cream colored head. Reduced to a thin, foamy ring around the glass.

S- Bourbon, oak and sweet malts. Little bit of caramel. The aromas meshed very well together.

T- Upfront notes of bourbon and sweet malts come through. Complexity is added with caramel and oak barrel flavors. Finishes with great cohesion: bourbon, sweet malts attributable to wee heavys, and a bit of caramel.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Could have used more viscosity.

D- Very drinkable. The bourbon was there, but very mellow. No alcohol heat for big beer.

Overall, a very nice beer. Recommended.

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Photo of Beejay
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy, very red amber. Nice full tan head on top.

S: Sweet, burnt caramel, raisons, oak, and bourbon.

T: Heavy alcohol at first, then burnt caramel, oak and Bourbon. Very nice once you settle into it. A good bit of bite from the hops at the finish.

M: Feels heavy. But plenty of carbonation.

D: Definitely a sipper of a beer. Nice, tons of carmel in there. Roasty, oaky and really does taste like something out of the backwoods.

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Photo of thecarster1
3.27/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

a- bottle poured into a tasting glass, not much head to be had due to the high alcohol, chesnut brown with a slight haze, really great label, love the artwork.

s- lots of alcohol, walnut, loads of malt, and straight up bourbon.

t- right off the bat this beer shows that it's not playing around, loads of alcohol, bourbon, a slight buttery-ness, carmelized brown sugar, dark fruits, oak. this is one complex bad boy.

m- medium bodied.

d- this is one strong, potent beer. i'm glad i had the chance to try it, but this isn't something i could polish off on my own with much ease. the alchohol and strong flavors in the bastard hinder the drinkability a bit, overall though this is a pretty fine beer.

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Photo of Lolli1315
3.52/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very dark brown, almost opaque but not quite. Small head that disappears quickly. Not much left to stick to the glass.

S- Large hints of alcohol are thrown out immediately followed with a lacing of wood chips and vanilla. Finishes with a subtle sweetness.

T- A strong taste of wood along with vanilla evident from the aging. Back end of the beer is overshadowed by the taste of alcohol as it becomes somewhat overwhelming.

M- Medium body, lacks on carbonation that could help this finish crisper.

D- This is a sipping beer, but quite easy or someone to drink over dinner or for a relaxing drink after a meal.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
2.73/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Poured with a dark tan/khaki head which receded quickly, probably owing to the higher ABV, eventually down to pretty much nothing. Virtually opaque brown beer with slight garnet highlights and an eerie, swampy glow.

S-Vanilla oakiness, slightly woody right away. Dark and sweet, like a rich sugar candy, with a bit of tasty sugar and a hit of spirits.

T-The oakiness stands prominently forefront in this beer. Oaky vanilla character pairs with a large malty-sugary sweetness. Bitterness seems to derive from several aspects, a bit from the oak, a bit from the alcohol, and minimally from the hops. Malty-boozy notes rise later in the flavor finishing residaully oaky and alcohol.

M-Full-bodied beer feels solid, slow-moving, and sticky. Carbonation was predictably low-level.

D-This beer is not very drinkable by the standards of high ABV brews. The alcohol was very prominent, and the barrel aging seemed to give it a bit too much of a harsh spirit-like quality.

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

Reviewed in a thistle glass

Appearance: Pours dark ruby with zero visibility and almost no head.

Smell: Sweet oak over smooth malty background. Hints of vanilla, licorice, and even some caramel. This is pretty complicated and very good.

Taste: Like candy. Seriously though, this beer is hugely complex. It starts sweet and develops smooth caramel malts before a twinge of plum, raisin, and grapes come through. There is a slight bitter finish that cleans the palate.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and almost oily.

Drinkability: It's going to be tough for a barrel aged wee heavy to be very drinkable but this one definitely pushes that limit.

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Photo of Casey10
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this beer from a trade from Heliosphan thanks again Scott this one is really nice.

Obviously I really liked it nice look great taste had a wonder taste to me of dark cherries. I have had some like this that the smell and taste overpower but not like this beer again well balanced, it is strong, so be carefull here. This is a brew I would love to try again and am greatful to try.

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Photo of koopa
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle consumed 3/24/10.

Appearance: Pours garnet to a fire lit iced tea with a 2 finger beige crown that displays moderate retention and good lace.

Smell: Lots of earthy oak and sweet oak notes with a light hop and a well blended bourbon note. So much delicious barrel!!!!

Taste: Nice bitter herbal hop notes over moderately bourbon soaked wood and lightly sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and fairly crisp despite slight undercarbonation.

Drinkability: The abv and prominent hop bitterness hold it back a bit.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up some of these beers in BG, KY a few weeks back.

A vigorous pour reveals a nice light mocha head against a dense brown body. Murky but very nice.

Sweet vanilla bourbon overflows from the rim of my duvel tulip. The sweetness reminds me of Jim BEam, but in a good way.

This beer envelops my taste buds vicsous and sweet. Powerful malt body balanced by a shot of heat that I like in this particular brew. Dark caramel with a faint hop finish. Pretty spectacular.

A great beer in every category. Definitely a sipper.

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Photo of Pabs311
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a deep brown color with some red highlights throughout. a nice off-white head tops this beer and settles slowly to leave some decent lacing on the glass.

S- rich bourbon notes are the main aromas in this beer. oak, toffee and vanillas are all prominant. no alcohol aroma is present as in some bourbon brl aged beers.

T- similar to the nose, but more prominant oak, vanilla and toffee. no alcohol again. very bourbony.

M/D- full bodied, low carbonation. very smooth and silky mouthfeel makes this beer a treat to drink, especially with the absence of the alcohol.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another extra from pwoods. I've had this one before, but am always excited to get good Founders beer out here.

Pours to my glass with a deep amber, near brown color. Thickly laced off-white head lingers and laces my glass. Color appears opaquely red when held to light.

Nose is of smooth bourbon, slight wood aroma and hints of vanilla. Taste is more of the same. Deliciously smooth. Better than I remember.

Mouthfeel is very creamy and dessert-like. This one is truly a treat. I could really go through these regularly if we could get them out here.

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

As someone who was introduced to scotch ales through Magic Hat's Jinx seasonal (which is still oft mourned by me, as there aren't many widely available low-cost scotch ales); this is at about the end of the spectrum in terms of intensity, learning curve, and ultimately - satisfaction.

A: Beautiful. Dark reddish brown, like a fine piece of furniture. Head is off-white with quite a bit of retention and lacing, which is refreshing and appealing for such a high alcohol brew.

S: Whoa. Once you take a whiff of this one, you realize you're in a whole different stratosphere than even other bourbon/scotch/whiskey barrel-aged beers. There is a strong smell of fine liquor, with brown sugar and vanilla bringing up the rear. Even if you don't like brown liquors, this beer BEGS you to take a sip.

T: Over the course of a 4-pack, this one has grown on me significantly. If you take a nice hearty sip and let the beer slide down your throat without just gulping it nervously, you start to sense the depth of character. It's still dominated by bourbon, but there are strong vanilla, molasses, and sweet oak flavors that come out to play. The aftertaste is more bourbon with a unique alcohol burn. Even for a 10%er, the alcohol warmth is far more noticeable than usual for a beer (and I'm guessing that's by design).

M: The mouthfeel is very nice due to the strong carbonation and warm boozy after-effects of each sip. You can sense the hard work that went into this beer when you consider that the extra carbonation goes a long way in reminding you that you're drinking beer - if they'd undercarbonated this one it'd just taste like some sort of bourbon equivalent of a wine cooler.

D: This is the only category that's not perfect, because it takes a long while to down one of these, and it's not for everyone. Even for me, someone who has given this beer aces all the way through this review, it takes quite a bit of effort, however satisfying each sip may be. There's just no way you can give this beer a high drinkability rating, regardless of how delicious it is.

Seek this one out. And get more than one bottle, because you're going to like it more and more with each one. And for the love of God - drink it cold!

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

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thin tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm burnt toffee scent along with a nice oak bourbon aroma. The taste is awesome. It has a wonderful mix of warm burnt toffee with fresh oak and bourbon. The oak contributes an excellent vanilla character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I'm generally a huge fan of Scotch ales anyway, but this one is exceptional. The barrel aging adds an additional layer of complexity. The 10.2% abv. is well hidden.

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Photo of cbutova
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Capone's Friday and reviewed from notes. Pours out a very dark brown with not head and just a ring of off-white froth around the edges of the beer. Leaves light lacing that is spotty but looks pretty good for an aged beer. Smell needs a bit of strength but it is good. Bourbon, wood, vanilla and that signature caramelly/sugary scotch ale scent. No alcohol comes through in the nose. Taste was fantastic. A perfect balance, it is like the bottle but much more balanced and without the alcohol notes. Bourbon, oak, caramel, vanilla, and great tasty malts combine to form a nectar of the gods. The bourbon level here is perfect and more enjoyable than the extremely strong bourbon in KBS. Mouthfeel also improves from the bottle! The body is medium but very, very creamy with moderate carbonation. A tiny warmth makes for the most suitable mouthfeel possible. I could drink this on-tap all night, if the ABV didn't eventually kill me. It is so balanced on tap, it is amazing. The price at Capone's was fantastic and the flavor couldn't get any better for what the beer is.

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Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown color. Modest head to begin with--it settles to a single layer of fine bubbles. Touches of shapely but random lace.

For the smell, there is the typical caramel, candy sugar notes (of course). But there's also an unusual sourness.

The taste is chocolately sweet. Strong alcohol presence. It's like a brown ale with a shot of rum. Rich body, like a true wee heavy.

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Photo of tedsox31
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my snifter, the color is a dark brown with off-white head that dissipates relatively quickly. Lots of lacing left behind.

The aroma is delicious. Right up front is a nice bourbon presence that isn't overwhelming. Alongside of that is vanilla, oak, caramel, chocolate, and the slightest hint of fruit.

The taste is boozy, along with all of the other flavors mentioned in the aroma: lots of caramel and chocolate, vanilla and oak are in the middle-ground, and a smooth sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, surprising for a beer like this, but very smooth and low carbonation. The bourbon lingers on my tongue a bit.

This is a sipper, although I'm tempted to have two in one sitting despite the high alcohol. The flavors are so well-blended they just invite you back for sip after sip after sip. Would be interested to age this one for a year and see how it develops.

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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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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,917 ratings.
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