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 MargotDarko
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is where it's at for me. I picked up a $4 single on a whim, and I was totally blown away. I hadn't been drinking as much beer in the past several years, but this was a game changer. It sent me on a path to seek out more and more different craft beers and really get back into it. The only thing slightly negative about it for me is that it can be a little too intense. I can only handle one bottle in a sitting, and it needs to be a looong sitting to avoid feeling wasted.

It looks amazing poured out, but I enjoy it straight from the bottle too, because I don't get that powerful eye watering effect of breathing into the glass on accident or the non-beer-drinkin' hubby's comments on the smell filling up the room. Another benefit of drinking from the bottle is looking at the label. You look straight into his eyes every time you need a reminder that you do not eff with the Backwoods Bastard and you do not eff around with this beer.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the growler, it pours a clear reddish brown with a moderate head. The nose gets the bourbon, smoke and roasted malts. The mouth gets a bit of alcohol along with the molasses and smoke, Careful drinking, but good!

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Shared bottles from 2014 and 2016.
L: Color of a dirty copper penny with a beige head.
2016 has a bigger head but both receded quickly.

A: Malts, molasses, dark fruits, smoke and obviously bourbon.
I thought the bourbon aromas were more pronounced in the 2014 edition.

T: Overall both of these were sweet with molasses and toffee flavors. A nice warming effect from the Barrel aging.

M: I thought the 2014 version was smoother and creamier, but I have no complaints about 2016.

O: One of my favorite beers. I preference the 2014 edition because the bourbon notes were more subdued. Either, or, this is one terrific beer.

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Photo of azurel
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 edition
Poured into a tulip...Pours a dark brown/mahogany with a 2 finger tan head that lingers awhile. Leaves minute lacing.

Aroma is of scotch, barrel notes, malt, caramel.

Taste is amazing follows the aroma with a boozyness upfront of scotch then fades into slight smoke, vanilla barrel notes mid swallow. Finishes with a nice scotch boozy heat.

Mouth feel is thick viscous, creamy, full. You know your drinking something substantial.
One of the best.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 release, bottled September 22nd, 2016; poured from a 12oz bottle into my Gordon thistle:

Deep carmine body, clear with a faint surface slick. Sticky legs, but next to no lacing.

Bourbon in the nose - potent with hints of stone fruit and sweet malt, but the base beer is largely overwhelmed by the bourbon aromatics (tobacco, vanilla, leather, candy-corn, etc.).

Flavor follows the nose with greater intensity of both the bourbon (including a flourish of alcohol) and the malt (chewy and rich without being cloying or grainy). Low bitterness, and no obvious hop contribution flavor-wise. Faintly smokey medium-dry finish with successive waves of melanoidins and stone fruit with a hint of sherry-aged single malt. More spirit than barrel throughout.

Rich yet somehow thin mouth-feel; carbonation could be a bit higher maybe.

Very excited to have this available locally, though the price is becoming prohibitive ($4.50/12oz), and while the bourbon contributes very good flavor, it doesn't necessarily elevate the style.

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Photo of Riff
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a clear, dark brown, with about a half finger of off white head that dissipated slowly. Smell is bourbon, caramel, and peaty scotch, they are light and not overpowering. Taste is delicious. Smoke, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and caramel. Feel is good, medium-heavy body, silky smooth. No overpowering lingering flavor. Outstanding beer overall, wish the smell was a little stronger but oh man, otherwise this is a great beer and a must have.

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Photo of Holderness
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L -- Dark brown head. Make sure to aerate heavily --makes a two finger tan head if properly poured. Minimal lacing
S -- Scotch whisky, molasses, malts, raisins, figs
T -- Same as it smells, plus maple syrup, bourbon, and burnt caramel.
F -- Potent.
O -- Worth the money. Very rustic, medeival feel

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.99/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled October 2016, enjoyed December 8th of the same year. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large snifter. Pours a deep, dark, just short of opaque mahogany with a finger-thick off-white, beige head that dissipated at somewhat slowly and left a little bit of lacing. Carbonation is evident on the sides of the glass when swirled and held up to the light. Smell is big bold caramel, bourbon, molasses, and a touch of spice. Taste follows suit, but of course, more pronounced. Marshmallowy combo of malts and Bourbon is killer and, like the Dirty Bastard, the touch of caramelly sweetness and the loving hop bite, work like a dream together. The feel is full bodied and relatively thick with a carbonation that is lively, but not overly so. Overall, I absolutely love this beer and can't wait to see what age will do for it. Can't recommend this highly enough. Layers of complexity, flavors from across the spectrum, and not too ridiculous a price, either. For me, I'd call it perfect.

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

Look: maple syrup color with perfect amount carbonation
Smell: definitely getting a scotch and bourbon, vanilla burnt rasins
Taste: smooth scotch and bourbon are very pronounced throughout but easy to drink.
Feel: for me this is a great beer definitely enjoy this style scotch and bourbon blended well
Overall: this beer is a great example of the wee heavy style to date one of my favorite founders beers

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Photo of seansean95
4.81/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: pretty minimal tan head. Dark, dark brown, but not completely opaque.

Smell: very potent alcohol scent backed up with smoky sweet, almost raisin-y tones.

Taste: fantastic. That sweet smoky flavor hits first but there are after tones of malts and chocolate.

Feel: smooth. Perfect amount of carbonation.

Overall: one of the best beers I've had in a while and another gem from Founders. Definitely pick it up if you see it.

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

A real gem of a beer.
All the qualities of a wee heavy and the savory notes of a bourbon aged stout.
Pours inky black with khaki head with rich bourbon, vanilla notes. Taste is sweet malts forward, caramel, molasses and vanilla notes with a pleasant finish. Mouth feel is medium, mild effervescence, delicious.
ABV well hidden - solid beer, a real winter warmer.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Service: Bottle
Bottled: Oct-4-2016

Clearish, ruddy brown-black with ruby hues in the light. Nice two fingers of khaki head that settles to a half-finger. Sheets of lacing and good retention. (4.25)

Rich dark fruits, slight tannins, oaky barrel character, roasted nuts. (4.25)

Rich and hearty with little detectable alcohol. Cocoa powder, molasses, dried cherries, slight bourbon oaky warmth, layers of toffee coated, nutty malt. (4.25)

Smooth, rich, drinkable, warming-but-not-boozy, medium-plus body, soft carbonation. (4.25)

Excellent Scotch ale, excellent barrel character.
This is a tasty, drinkable beer with rich layers of toffee and fruit cake. The barrel is there and is a perfect level for my preferences: present but not omni-present and the wood comes through a little stronger than the booze that was previously in it. Alcohol is well-hidden, all-around enjoyable beer. Seriously, 11 ABV?!?! Crazy!
I would definitely have this one again. (4.5)

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The wait is over as I finally cracked open a bottle of Backwoods Bastard for the 1st time and have to say with how much anticipation I had for this beer I am highly disappointed. Perhaps my glassware wasn't very appropriate as I poured it into a goblet but still it's not as delicious as Founders Dirty Bastard which I expected this to be similar just stronger.
Alright so poured into a goblet and color is of a caramel chocolate brown, almost resembles that of maple syrup with a very thin lining head right from the get go. It's a 12oz bottle yet 3 months since it was bottled the carbonation has already shrunk as now it look like 11oz or less which is surprising as I had always read that this type of beer is good for aging but if that is so why has an ounce already been reduced? Nevertheless I still have 3 that I plan on aging which perhaps next year I will think differently about this beer.

The aroma is quite mild with smells of oak and scotch but not as powerful as expected or even as powerful as the dirty bastard.

The feel of this beer is light and smooth with a mild sizzle.

Taste is that of scotch and not beer and when it comes to what I'd rather choose it would be scotch. It's a scotch with some barley and mild carbonation. Tastes also include oak, caramel, vanilla, malt, and butterscotch. Not a bad November-March beer but not as good as I had come to expect.

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Photo of Dzman
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Overall first...I love this beer! It's no wonder that Founder's got to be the best brewery in America. The color is similar to a raisin dark violet black. The head is creamy beige. Taste something like raisins and sweet. It tastes naturally sweet as if it was pressed fruit. The alcohol is noticeable at first but later not so much as my tongue got use to the new flavor. It lingers on on the tongue after swallowing. I prefer to let it sit on my tongue for 3 seconds before swallowing. It ends crisp and clean. This is a beer that is most certainly a sit back and relax after dinner. I would only need one for the remainder of the night. Not an everyday beer or one that I would drink in a day. It must be a one a day and only after a good meal. Classy.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: Bine & Vine Bottles Sop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $14.99 for a 4-pack
Purchased: Oct. 25, 2016
Consumed: Oct. 30, 2016
Reviewed as: Scotch / Wee Heavy
Misc.: 2016 release; Bottled Sept. 22, 2016 at 5:56 p.m. ET

Had been wanting to try this one for a long time. Finally saw it in stores for the first time at Bine & Vine. Wanted to get just a 12-oz. bottle, but they only had them in 4-packs. Ended up pulling the trigger for $14.99, picking up the last one. The label says it all - Scotch-Style Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels.

Poured a dark brown-to-light-black color with two fingers of khaki-tan frothy head. A few bubble streams coming up at various points on the glass. World-class spiderweb foamy lacing. Excellent retention. (Sight - 4.50)

Smelled a mix of boozy bourbon and deep oaky notes. Wow, very appealing. Digging deeper got vanilla, caramel, toffee, leathery tobacco, raisins, dates, oak chips, cocoa, sticky dark fruits and Whoppers candy. Cooled down on the nose as it went down. Really had me wanting to try it. (Smell - 4.50)

Tasted very similar to the nose, but maybe not quite as good. Getting woody oak chips, smooth bourbon, subdued vanilla, raisins, dates, some earthy tobacco, cocoa, bitter dark chocolate, roasty malts, more dark fruits (plum?), caramel malts, touch of brown sugar, still getting Whoppers candy, maybe the malted chocolate, and toasted toffee. Wow, feeling that 11.2 pct. warming down my stomach. This is wonderful. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

This was just awesome. Even better than I thought it was going to be. (Overall - 4.50)

4.40 | 98 | A

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Speiglau BA glass.

Look is a dark reddish brown, hazy with no head.

Aroma is vanilla, oak, and maybe a little coconut.

Taste matches aroma exactly. Lots of vanilla, oak, and definitely coconut.

Really delicious BA beer.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Founders Backwoods Bastard has a thin, khaki head, a red-amber-brown appearance, some bubbles, and a bit of spider web lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of oak, vanilla, liquor, and grain. Taste is of those elements, along with dried fruit and noticeable, balancing hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and Backwoods Bastard finishes semi-dry.


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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**NOTE: I don't believe this beer is very good fresh; however, I think it blossoms with some age. I am reviewing an aged bottle**

Bottled 10/7/14; drank 11/16/15 @ the Yarchives.

Poured from the bottle into a glass.

Opaque orange/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small khaki head which quickly dissipated; strong lace.

Caramel, cream soda & faint oak notes in the nose.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Oak, cream soda & molasses flavors up front; dark caramel notes on the finish. Almost no booze heat. A year made a big, positive difference on this beer; it has aged into a rich dessert treat.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a clear, dark brown with a large head. The aroma offers up milk chocolate, raisin, vanilla, toffee, caramel, fig, banana, bourbon, and chocolate truffle. The flavor features vanilla, rice puddings, fig, chocolate, cinnamon, raising, and a hint if bubblegum, The mouthfeel is full, soft, rich, and sticky. Overall this is a simply amazing beer. The flavors a full but in excellent balances, and there is a rich, almost vinous quality here that is utterly charming.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from short 12oz bottle into Tulip glass. Bottled on October 13th 2016.

L: Deep dark ruby, finger width beige head fades quickly into a nice ring. Spotty delicate lacing.

S: Fig, molasses, scotch, smoke, tar, bourbon, caramel.

T: This starts with the dried dark fruits, quickly switches to caramel and molasses, ending with the bourbon, the scotchy smokiness is the lingering flavors.

F: Medium-Full, medium carbonation, clean finish.

O: Truly another impressive beer from Founders.

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a cigar city snifter.

Deep dark murky brown,with a thin,light khaki head,that dissipates quickly.Dim distorted light coming through the glass.Slow carbonation.

The nose is dark roasted malts,and bourbon.Small hints of vanilla,chocolate,and coffee.

The palate follows the nose.I'm getting alot of roasted dark malt,and bourbon.Also some small hints of chocolate as the beer warms.

The body is medium,with a chalky after taste.Very little carbonation playing in the mouth.

I'm not a huge fan of Scotch Ales,but this is a very good,very complex beer.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a custom shaped glass: color is amber brown, head is light tan with fine bubbles and presents 1/2 inch thick, head dissipates to a top then a ring, mild lacing.

Smell is vanilla, oak, light raisin/aged fruit, caramel, then some boozy heat but not exactly 'bourbon' like.

Taste is on the same plane as the aroma with vanilla heavy, oak undertones, caramel and figs/raisins; further warming brings forth some coconut, toffee and nuts. Booziness is strong, but not in anyway detracting - pleasant warming like a good bourbon based drink.

Mouthfeel has moderate carbonation, some sharper bite at the end.

Overall a pleasantly drinkable beer with deep flavors and some strong booziness with surprisingly strong vanilla/coconut like flavors.

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is almost a perfect beer for me. I was already a fan of Dirty Bastard but the aging in bourbon barrels just puts it over the top. I will be aging this over time to see how this goes as well as purchasing subsequent years offerings. The ratings I give should speak for themselves (btw poured from a 12 oz 10/05/16 bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip glass) but the feel in the mouth was just superb in how filling it was.

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Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First pour dirty oil black with minimum head, turns cherry amber within a minute. Very complex brew. Taste of peat.oak,cherries,bourbon, and chocolate come to mind. Sweet syrupy taste "in a good way" Finish is smooth and sweet. Not cloyingly sweet, just right. ABV at 11.6% is almost undetectable. I have had a few terrible scotch type ales in the past. This is delicious albeit expensive.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
3.3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a muddy brown color with a half finger, beige head.

Rich with lots of sticky toffee, caramel, molasses and mild fudge. Somewhat fruity and candy like with hints of sweet red licorice and candied apples. Has a faint woody character. Alcohol is detectable on the nose.

Very sweet. Upfront you get a smooth and rich albeit slightly alcoholic toffee, butterscotch and molasses flavor.There are spicy notes of cinnamon, cola, smoked oak wood and vanilla beans in the background. Vague notions of licorice and candied apples hiding somewhere. It ends on more boozy notes of really sweet caramel, red fruits, and chocolate.

Very sticky and sugary sweet on the tongue. Borderline slimy. As previously mentioned it's slightly hot and alcoholic. Medium body with low carbonation.

The flavor is good, but it's too sweet for me. A one and done beer in my opinion. Something I really have to be in the right type of mood for in order to enjoy properly.

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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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