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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: 7,912
Photo of LAp
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby-mahogany with a dark tan head. Nose is thick caramel malt, with prominent elements of toffee on a faint bourbon background. The palate follows the nose. The bourbon is appropriately subdued, and allows the Wee-Heavy notes (more rich toffee, molasses, and brown sugar) to come through more strongly. Mouthfeel is medium-thick/thick, with minimal carbonation. One of the quintessential Wee Heavies in my mind. An outstanding beer.

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Photo of GregBinder7
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Overall great beer. Very good taste, awesome aroma as well. They typically have it on tap for quite some time! Easily one of the best brews Founders makes

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


A: Lots of bourbon vanilla upfront, some malt sweet malt and oak on the nose.

A: Deep brown color, with an amberish hue, almost opaque, with a moderate head.

T: Lots of bourbon, rich malts with a light brown sugar, molasses character with some oak. This beer does not have a typical Scotch ale flavor profile – but quite tasty.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; very smooth mouth-feel.

O: Pretty fantastic and great one to slowly sip and enjoy the complex taste!

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Photo of JackieKu
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

On tap.

A: Deep brown. Medium foam with fine retention.
S: Intense oaks: woody and vanilla. Syrup sweet. Sour notes.
T: Intense oaky and malty. Vanilla, woody, butter, caramel, and bread. High sweetness. Moderate bitterness.
M: Full body. Moderate carbonation.
O: The best Scotch ale I've had. Powerful aroma and flavor. Complex and delicious, really great.

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Photo of mctnoyes
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not really a scotch ale fan but this one is a HUGE exception! Founders does a fantastic job barrel aging and it gives this strong ale awesome flavor. Look forward to it every year.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque, hazy of plum-maroon with a medium-thin beige head. Not much if any lacing is left behind. Notes of sweet malts, toffee, and oak come through in the nose. It smells sweet overall. Taking a sip provides one with a smooth crescendo of sweet malts and toffee, before peaking and decaying into a still sweet, but oak infused flavor. Mouth feel is fantastic. It's incredibly smooth and well behaved, despite being an 11% beer. Overall, an incredible beer. It's easy and fun to drink, and looks great. Features a little more character in the aroma and taste than other scotch ales/ wee heavies I've had in the past.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

Score for 2015: 4.25 | 4.25 | 4.25 | 4.5 | 4.25 | Compiled Score: 4.28

Backwood's Bastard 2016 pours a rich, deep hue of burgundy so dark very little light pokes through. Head formation bubbles up quickly and accumulates about a finger thick in a beige color. Unfortunately, head retention is moderate, with very little lacing afterwards. Aroma is a blast of flavors, with notes of oak, bourbon, boozy burn, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, and burnt sugar. It certainly smells sweet, and with its high level of complexity, it's fun to just sniff. Beer is meant to be drank though, so how does it taste. Complex and warming in a quick pairing of words. Flavor profile opens with oak, caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, before reshaping into bourbon, and a slightly, fleshy boozy burn. Despite all of this complexity, the beer finishes watery wiping the bold flavors off of the palette. It makes taking another sip easy, but makes it difficult to savor. The watery finish starts to break up as the beer warms, finishing slightly more boozy and oaky. Mouth feel has a medium consistency, while remaining filling. Its a strange pairing. Perhaps it needs more time to mellow out and smooth. Overall, it's a sublime beer with a high level of complexity and character. While there is plenty going on, and to consider and think about, it almost leaves a little something to be desired. Fortunately, (or unfortunately) it remains easy to drink at 11.2% ABV, especially compared with other limited Founder's offering. This fresh bottle of 2016 does have a bit more spice then the 2015 bottle I had earlier this year which was aged for about 3 months in a stone cellar prior to my consumption of it.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, 2014 version, dated 9/26/14. Pours hazy amber with a medium sized off-tan head. Smells of bourbon, cocoa, cherry, and barrel. The taste follows exactly with bourbon, oak, cherry, cocoa, and vanilla. Could use some more caramel flavors. Some bitterness in the pallet. Medium body and below average carbonation. It's very different from Dirty Bastard; it's less true to the style but full of flavor and well made.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep ruby red/brown with a light tan head. Smell is heavy on the bourbon. Rich vanilla, oak, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, and sweet malt. Taste follows the nose for the most part. Slightly boozy on the back end. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and thick with low carbonation. Overall, a really good BA wee heavy. I wouldn't go out of my way to get it though, even before Founder started distro-ing here. Definitely worth trying though.

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Photo of ranger7
3.46/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I had this over New Year's Eve. Boozy and sweet; some brown sugar, caramel, and malt. Very boozy and definitely a sipping beer. I'm glad I gave this a try, since I've been looking for it for a couple years now, but I probably wouldn't seek it out again. For what it is, it's fine, but too boozy for me.

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Photo of Sir_Whats-his-face
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I was excited to finally get to try one of Founders barrel aged beers, and I think I'm most surprised by how subtle this beer is. The bourbon isn't so in-your-face, but it's integrated so well into the whole that I feel as if that's for the best. It's no bourbon bomb, but it's an extraordinarily balanced beer, and I can't find much- if any- fault with it.

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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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Photo of uvachief
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Scotch Wee Heavy. Pours a nice amber red. Full 2 fingers of head that lingered. Smells of sugars and bourbon. Much like a traditional scotch wee heavy. Taste is thicker than expected. Bourbon upfront and bourbon on the back end. Tastes like a barleywine to me though. Good but not great. Sweet sugars and bourbon. I'll pass next time.

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Photo of NateDyk47
3.24/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Founders.

L: dark brown, thin white head
S: bourbon, caramel, maple syrup
T: mostly bourbon, hint of caramel
F: on the heavy side

Not a big fan. Too sweet and too much bourbon.

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Photo of MLoxxer
3.2/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

This was my first foray into a high gravity scotch ale. I partook of this beer on tap at Yia Yia's in Lincoln Nebraska. The draw I had exhibited a very nice appearance whose head left behind respectable lacing. The nose and flavor of this beer are very alcoholic, which is to be expected at 12% plus ABV. Although it is interesting, the intrigue to want to try it again just isn't there.

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Photo of Ikeithbot
4.96/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Looks brick reddish brown, no head typical of her style

Smells amazing! Heavy oak and bourbon action!

Taste is other worldly. I love wee heavies and this brings it to another level.

Mouthfeel. Baa. Whatever.

Overall. The more I drink it the more I want to rock a kilt. Such a treasure and kudos to founders for making an exceptional brew. It can't be easy and I guess that's why it's only available once a year.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Genty poured into chalice. No head, fizzy lacing that dissipates. Deep brown, ruby-brown when held to light.

Smells of molasses and dark malty ale, chocolate and toffee, like a tray of brown sweets at Christmas. Indicative of its style.

Taste: syrupy mash, rich creamy chocolate, roast toffee, very full bodied. Soft custard aftertaste.

Feel: pretty smooth. The savory flavors are soft on the palette. The only carbonated bite comes from the faint ale taste.

More personality than its exemplary but standard Founders cohorts Curmudgeon (Old Ale) and Dirty Bastard (another Wee Heavy). If you're a fan of the style, it is essential drinking. If you like dark rich beers in general, it will likely tickle your fancy. Serve it at your next Samhain.

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Photo of MaillardRx
4.61/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber with a thin light-colored meniscus for a head that leaves an equally thin lace
S: malt, whiskey, malt again, whiskey again... I could smell this all day
T: a robust and mature malt bill, whiskey, raisins, currants, oak, coffee, a little bit of smoke, pepper, molasses, brown sugar
M: more chewy than I was anticipating but in a very good way, it's got good girth to it
O: start to finish this was a very complete beer and great example of the style; it warmed the cockles of my heart and I'm very grateful to Kyle for it.

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Photo of BarrelAgedForrest
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW! Not sure what else to say here. I got to enjoy one bottle of this and was sadly hooked with no where to get a fix! (We got 1 case of it in our entire town) Then next thing you know we go to Round table to get a salad and low and behold founders is doing a tap take over there (WTF?) To say the least I was the only guy to ask for it properly served in a tulip glass (They had some) Also I was told I drank most of the keg lmao.

Pours a nice caramel brown from the tap and bottle. The tap had more Head Retention then the bottle. On the nose you are left diving into the depths with bourbon and sweet oakey vanilla up front, followed by caramel and some chocolate. ( at least i was) The mouth feel is very warm and creamy, emphasis on the boozy warmth. Great for a cold evening! get hints of smokeyness as well. Taste wise, i got the same as on the nose but with a bit more maltiness then what I picked up on the nose. Absolutely wonderful and a great pleasure to get to enjoy it while it was here!

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

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, red brown with a short tan head that dissipates leaving a little lacing, clear

S: malty, oak, bourbon, bread, prunes, raisins, vanilla, chocolate covered cherries

T: cherries, raisins, bourbon, oak, prunes, vanilla, chocolate, smoky peat

M: full and heavy, lower carbonation, alcohol well hidden

O: Fantastic beer with a wealth of flavor complexity. Perfect for a cold winter evening.

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

Appearance: Cloudy dark amber in color, with a massive and somewhat coarse tan head, with good persistence.

Aroma: A spicy-sweet bourbon-like alcohol note dominates the aroma. Raisins, wood, vanilla, and earth are also notable.

Taste: The taste begins with sweet, vinous and spicy alcohol, roasted malt, and earth. As the taste progresses, wood infused bourbon notes advance, offering a slightly sweet and very complex undercurrent. As the taste progresses, the bourbon notes vie with the wood to provide a complex melange. Late in the taste, there is a surprising note of toasted coconut. The finish is dominated by wood notes and sweet alcohol.

Mouth feel: Wonderfully full, very soft and pleasing.

Drinkability/notes: Simply wonderful, in a world of overpriced and mediocre craft beer, this is an elegant and over-the-top example of what craft beer can be when craftsmanship is applied.

Presentation: Packaged in a short twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a twist-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice. Bottled on date is 09/24/15.. This was my 1500th review on Beer Advocate.

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Photo of Lingenbrau
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first perfect 5! Clean, deep ruby and brown with an off white head that recedes quickly. Smell of toasted marshmallow, lots of vanilla, and a hint of bourbon. Tastes even better with all those aromas highlighted even more. Smooth and creamy, medium full body, and a little bitter of a finish. As of now, this sets the bar for my favorite beer. Very glad to finally have Founder's in California. Cheers!

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Completely opaque brown. Low head retention with fast rising bubbles.

S - Planty, with notes of bread, prunes, plums, and bourbon.

T - Spicy and woody with prunes. Bitterness is restrained. Mild alcohol presence.

M - Mouth coating thickness. Some carbonation burn with short finish.

O - A strong, interesting and tasty brew. Not an everyday beer for me, but good for the occasional enjoyment.

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

A: opaque; brown or deep amber with ruby accents at the edges; 1 finger khaki head that receded to a splotchy cap; very nice lacing;

S: vanilla, dark fruit, molasses, and caramel;

T: caramel, vanilla, molasses, fruitcake, and bourbon; relatively sweet up front with mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish; smooth; for 11.6% ABV, alcohol is warming, but relatively well hidden;

O: very nice, complex aromas and flavors;

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Photo of chrismann65
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle to snifter. Bottled 9-13-15. This is a top shelf B.W. ! some roasted nut, some dried fruit. The mouthfeel is smooth and thick. This is a phenomenally tasty Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. This years was on POINT !!!

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Photo of JTG372
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in 10/15. Poured a 3 inch head(! [my fiance poured in her "from higher is better" method]) into a tulip.
Look: Deep dark reddish mahogany.
Smell: Oak, tobacco, sweet earth, and yes, heaven.
Taste: Again, heaven. Oak, sweet malt,bourbon, vanilla, more tobacco, an earthy quality in the best way. The best scotch ale I have ever had, aged or otherwise. There's a lot of complexity there, and I feel like I want to compare it to HotD Adam, even though they're not the same style. Just alot going on.
Mouthfeel: Sufficiently viscous, coats the tongue. Enough of a burn to let you know this sucker's packing heat.
Overall: Quite possibly my favorite beer. The only reason I don't give it a perfect 5 is because it gives me no room to go up. This just ticks all the boxes. I don't usually buy the same beer twice in a row so I can change it up, but I bought Backwoods Bastard 3 times. Have one left in the fridge (time hasn't seemed to detract from any of its glowing qualities) and I'm going to age two bottles. I've heard negative things about aging it, but what the heck.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,912 ratings.
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