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: 8,073
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 mmcsporran
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this at Consumer's Beverages in Buffalo and really enjoyed this beer. The bourbon barrel aging really comes through. The taste was smooth, a tad sweet, but the bourbon and alcohol content balances this well. Absolutely will look for this again.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a dark, hazy mahogany brown color. There is a small tan head which rapidly fades to a ring of foam. Light, spotty lacing.

S: Big notes of molasses and raisin, figs and brown sugar. Some lighter cherry flavor but it is milder. Aroma of whiskey is warm and pleasant and becomes more potent as the beer warms.

T: Caramel/vanilla flavor is forward. Alcohol and some grassy flavor cut through the sweetness a bit, but it is still a sugary brew. Less fruity than the aroma. Finish is long and surprising bitter based on the rest of the flavors.

M: Medium bodied and somewhat sticky. Carbonation is very low.

O: An interesting, well-done beer.

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

Poured from a chilled 12oz bottle into a snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a nice deep amber/brown with a small off white head which faded fairly quickly but really stuck to the glass. Smelled of vanilla, warming bourbon, and plenty of sweet caramel malt with a feint oaky scent. Great strong, complex, warming scent.

Taste and Mouthfeel:Tasted of extremely sweet vanilla, and some burned cane sugar. Definitely some caramel malt noticed throughout. The bourbon is definitely present in this but doesn't warm the tongue like it does the nose. Not a whole lot of hop presence to this thick, sticky brew.

Drinkability:I really enjoyed drinking this. I'll probably pick up another 4-pack before it goes out of season. This is a great cold weather brew. Really a pleasant improvement to it's predecessor Dirty Bastard, definitely worthy of a seperate seasonal release.

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

A-dark red brown color with a small off-white head and no lacing

S-caramel, brown sugar, bourbon, malt

T-malt, caramel, oak, bourbon, vanilla

F-medium body with light carbonation, a little alcohol burn

O-great marriage of scotch ale and bourbon barrel, a delicious sipper with good balance of sweetness and bourbon flavor

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Photo of hardy008
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown color with a small tan head with a bsmall amount of lacing. Smells of sweet caramel malt, dark fruit, oak, and bourbon. Has a nice sweet flavor with a little bit of a bitterness at the end. The oak, bourbon, caramel, and dark fruit combine beautifully to make a great beer.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth and creamy. This is a very drinkable Scotch Ale. I have to wonder if Founders is capable of making a bad beer? It seems like everything they make is either very good or great.

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

My first time venturing into the Backwoods..

Appearance: the Backwoods Bastard has a very dark and murky reddish brown color.. I hard-poured it to generate some head.

Smell: this bastard has one of the most interesting and complex aromas I've yet to smell. Tons of bourbon, toasted oak, and earthy spice.

Taste: there's a lot of bourbon up front.. then, the other flavors from the barrel shine through; oak, vanilla, and smoke. Couple that with a huge malt bill and some dark fruits and you have, what I believe to be, the preeminent scotch ale.

Mouthfeel: full bodied and smooth, with little carbonation due to the barrel aging.

Overall: no doubt about it, this beer is excellent. The bourbon barrel treatment works wonders for the Backwoods Bastard.. my favorite scotch ale to date.

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

On tap at Brass Rail Deli, Campbelltown, PA on 3/12/09.

A - Poured a cloudy, earthy brown akin to iced tea with sparse carbonation and a creamy tan head that receded to a thin, patchy veil and deposited adequate lacing around the glass.

S - Oaky nose with plenty of sweet vanilla notes and caramel malt, as well as a hint of alcohol and a nice bourbon presence that isn't overwhelming at all.

T - Huge bourbon presence in the flavor, but it is cooled down considerably by the vanilla and caramel sweetness. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and more woody/oaky notes.

M - Medium body with a syrupy texture and pretty soft carbonation overall. Finish is sweet on the tongue and is accompanied by some alcohol warmth and traces of hop bitterness.

D - Overall, I was really impressed with this offering from Founders. Backwoods Bastard boasts plenty of borubon flavor with a big vanilla presence, resulting in a bourbon barrel aged brew that isn't too boozy. Drinkability is fantastic for a 9.2% beer.

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Photo of beerman207
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark red brown color with a head that stays for a while leaving a nice skim.

S: brown sugar, alcohol, raisin, bourbon, vanilla, great smell

T: Bourbon dominates the taste and it is creamy, rich, dark fruit coming through with alcohol coming in towards the finish - not too much. Just enough alcohol warms the palate. Very nice.

M: Very sticky, moderate carbonation, and fantastic.

D: I have to rate the drinkability here very high. I am certainly sad that I didn't have another to follow my first. I can't say that this is a wee heavy but then again there's no wee heavy bourbon barrel category. For what it is, this is a fantastic beer. The art is cool as well.

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

This years, 2015, was definitely a bit different from pst years. I felt like it was a but thinner, even though the ABV went up, but overall had a thinner viscosity. Overall still a very good beer

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

12oz. Bottled 10/5/12

A - Pours cola brown in color, with lots of dark reds appearing in the glass. Creamy, two-finger head becomes a thin collar. Minimal lacing.

S - Definitely get the barrel notes. Plenty of sweet vanilla and oak. Underlying caramel and solid malt backbone.

T/M - Quite tasty! Like drinking a malted bourbon. Really well balanced. Not overpowering at all. Mild lingering bourbon aftertaste. Full bodied with almost perfect amount of carbonation.

O - Love it! Not much more to say. Drinks extremely well at a great price point. I will gladly grab this anytime it is available.

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Photo of beerhan
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2011 Vintage.

This review is from a bottle although I think it is even better on tap.

A-Pours a thick dark amber with a tan head. Light lacing hangs around the entire time.

S-Lots of bourbon and wood and a little vanilla shine through with a grassy undertone.

T-There is so much flavor in the beer, tons of oak and vanilla right off the bat with a bourbon finish. There is a bit of toffee in there as well but the bourbon is just a perfect touch to this. Perfect fall beer.

M-A lot of the bourbon barrel beers have a burn but this one is so smooth and sticky rather than boozy. Light carbonation makes this one easy to drink but a sipper..

O-This is one of my favorite releases from founders. It took some time for me to get into. When I first tried it a couple years ago I thought the bourbon was overpowering now I think it is perfect. This is really a fantastic example of what barrel aging does to a beer. I know it is not comparable to KBS but I enjoy this beer much more and just sit back and enjoy it.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The color is a very dark red burgundy shade with a small tannish head, not much lacing. The beer seems cloudy with floating sediments. The odor is bourbon, dark berry, cherry, woods, sweet, very rich, fig, dried fruits, dates. The taste is dried fruits, dates, malt, sweet, berry. Dry but not very bitter a aftertaste. Aged a few months before trying.

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Photo of darklordlager
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Backwoods Bastard (2009)

Pours a brilliant clear dark ruby with a fine coating of bready cream colored head. Very regal looking beer.

Dominated by bourbon, with a little dark fruit coming through as well. Caramel layers, with a flowery hop scent.

Bourbon, caramel, peat, bourbon, caramel. A constant barrage of these flavours, keeping it interesting. Bourbon is at the forefront (to be expected, as it is very fresh), supported by an intense sweet caramel backbone. An herbal flowery hop flavour is evident throughout, and a little smokiness/peat that peeks through at parts. A pleasant sweet cookie/pancake flavour emerges as it warms. Alcohol is a bit intense in the finish. More caramel and bourbon than dark fruit (which is what I associate with a Wee-Heavy), so this reminds me of a sort of middle-ground between a Scotch Ale and Barleywine.

Great balance between creamy and syrupy--Either of too much can be overwhelming, so this nice balance between the two is refreshing.

Once accustomed to the upfront bourbon flavour, this brew drinks extraordinarily smooth. The alcohol is definitely present, but is impressively intertwined with the bourbon. Give this one a little age, and I think it will be phenomenal.

Edit: Re-review 1/29/10, the bourbon has mellowed the slightest bit, allowing the phenomenal vanilla barrel flavour character to come through, as well as the layered caramel malt. Truly a great beer.

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Photo of kdb150
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2012 vintage, poured into an oversized Piraat tulip at room temperature, though this is closer to 60 than 70 as my house is pretty cold.

A - Pours a deep amber/brown with a half-finger of ivory head, which quickly subsides to a thin ring. Hints of ruby red shoot through this brew when held up to the light. No lacing to speak of, but nevertheless this is a beautiful pour.

S - Bourbon, oak, and vanilla strong up front, somewhat masking the burnt caramel and slight smoke of the base beer. The combination is reminiscent of scotch. Excellent aroma, though a bit weak for not being poured into a snifter, which I really recommend for this beer.

T - Again bourbon, with the base beer coming through a bit more in the flavor than in the nose. The malt is perfectly balanced with the bourbon to produce a wonderful bourbon/butterscotch flavor that is not too sweet and hits all the right notes. This a ridiculously good beer, though it benefits from a bit of age.

M - Silky smooth, absolutely perfect for the flavor profile. Low carb which dissipates rather quickly, but this coats nicely and has the most exquisite aftertaste. The mouthfeel seems to be one that is fairly unique to bourbon barrel-aged wee heavies, and this is the best of them. This is a real pleasure to drink.

O - This is one of my absolute favorite beers, though from prior experience I'd say it is definitely better after a few months, when the bourbon subsides a bit and the subtle smokiness of the base beer comes through. The flavor takes on more of a scotch note than a bourbon note, and this becomes a truly sublime beer experience. Even fresh, though, this is an absolute treat, worth seeking out and drinking as much as possible.

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Deep mahogany/red/brown color and opaque for the most part. About a half finger of head produced that subsides very quickly.

Aroma- Tons of sweet, bourbon, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and oak aromas in this one.

Taste- Lots of toffee sweetness upfront followed by a finish that showcases the bourbon nicely with vanilla and toasty oak flavors showing up. Very little alcohol heat if anything at all.

Feel- Full bodied, almost chewy, low carbonation, and very little residual malt in the finish.

Overall- Just from the nose I could tell this would be great and it was. Rich toffee flavors and a mellow bourbon influence makes this incredibly smooth and easy to drink. A sipper that sips very easily and isn't cloying in the least bit. Given the price and quality of this beer this will be a seasonal must have.

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Photo of danielharper
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Slightly hazy red-amber appearance, thick slightly off-white head that stick around for a bit, amazing considering the alcohol.

Smell: Malty, hugely alcoholic, slightly sweet. Bready.

Taste: Rich with caramel malt, hugely alcoholic, very astringent. Sweeter than expected, with a nice roasted dry aftertaste. The wood is nicely understated here. If I could give this a rating between 4.5 and 5, I would.

Mouthfeel: Thick, rolls around the tongue amazingly. No real carbonation or hops.

Drinkability: All right, here I'll give it a 5. Delicious, with the 10.2% ABV amazingly hidden. I'm not always a fan of bourbon-barrel aged beers, but this is truly top-notch and incredibly easy to drink.

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Photo of fields336
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

a: same color as dirty bastard, red to mahogany, with a slight amount of tan head that dissipates quickly.

S: some nice oaky, vanilla, bourbon, burnt sugar, caramel, toffee, chocolate, almost stout-esque notes are coming out.

T: big bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, burnt sugar, toffee, rich dark caramel, and smooth woody notes round this out. little to no heat and the chocolate and toffee notes dominate the aftertaste.

M: has that delicious bourbon barrel smoothness, silken, with the perfect amount of carbonation. almost like a nitro tap.

O: wow.. will be buying more of this if I get a chance.

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Photo of jmacpher
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Wow! This is a great beer! So great that I bought 11 packs when it released in late fall.

It pours a deep copper red with very little head that disappears quickly. It has an incredible smell to it, vanilla and bourbon are the dominant aromas here.

The taste is even better, very deep vanilla and bourbon taste with a bit of bready, yeasty taste. The finish is dry with a lingering vanilla aftertaste. The warming sensation of the alcohol sticks with you, although it's extremely well hidden for a 10 percenter.

This is an all-time favorite! I just wish it wasn't a once-a-year release!

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Photo of pwoods
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. stubby brown bottle, poured into a snifter. Got in a trade so long ago that I forget who it was from. Thank you for the trade!

A: Pours a dark, woody brown that's nearly opaque. Just under a finger of head int he snifter that holds for a bit before falling to a skim. A bit of lacing.

S: Deep, dark, earthy and woody aromas. Plenty of alcohol to go around, reminding me of the warmth you get from a good sipping bourbon.

T/M: More of the same. Woody and earthy malts, nicely sweetened. Some wisps of smoke here and there. The alcohol is present again but not overpowering or stinging, just that great warmth in the belly. Body is nearly full with a pleasant smoothness.

D: Tasty brew that would probably be better suited for a chilly Indian summer night.. but was just fine tonight, too.

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Photo of johntangus
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Delivered from a keg into my Piggly Wiggly growler and then into my Duvel tulip glass. Pouring a dark ruby hue with a very thin dissapating head.

Nice bourbony smell.

While the bourbon is definitely front and center, there are some nice raisiny dark fruit tastes/smells going on.

Not too sweet, the bourbon-oak cuts the malty flavor making a very rich drinking experience. But it's also not too thick or cloying.

This is a pretty drinkable beer for the ABV. The booziness is nicely hidden - while there is a nice bourbon taste, the associated burn isn't present. The light carbonation accentuates the layers of flavors. Letting this beer warm up a bit awakes even more tastes.

I have enjoyed this beer immensely as my Thanksgiving holiday beer.

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Photo of obrike
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This one is a beauty.

I love Dirty Bastard and was pretty stoked to finally try this one.

Poured a dark, ruby-brown with a small head that left a tan ring throughout. Some lace, but not a ton.

Nice smelling brew. Bourbon over sweet malt. Some vanilla, maybe toffee thrown in there too.

Can certainly taste the bourbon notes on the first sip. Not over powering though. Just a great mesh of bourbon and sweet malt. A lot going on here, perhaps vanilla and cinnamon too? Goes down like butttttaaaa! One smooth mo-fo. A wonderful slow sipper on a cold night.

Founders knocked this one outta the park. Just a fantastic, well crafted beer for those who appreciate a beer a bit out of the norm.

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Photo of JackieTH
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So as I'm first and foremost a Scotch whisky fan, this brew was just about right up my alley.

I was a little intimidated by the bottle label artwork, it was great as usual. Founder's artwork can be fantastic.

Consumed ice cold straight from the bottle while sitting at a campfire in the middle of the north woods of Wisconsin. Apropos I suppose as this is the Backwoods Bastard.

Immediate impression was, this is one angry beer. There's a lot going on here. Cherry vanilla bourbon on the nose and throughout the palate. Bitterness, coffee, caramel all fighting to come throughout tied together and working well if only by the sheer force of will of the backwoods bastard himself. ABV comes through in a big way along with smoke, even a bit of peat? I don't know at this point as I've been smashed. Oh and the warming finish is fantastic.

It's angry. Challenging. Delicious. I want more.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

(poured into a fat tulip Delirium Tremens glass)

A: large, creme-colored foam stand on pour, translucent mist left above, some spotty lace... murky, deep-rust hued liquid, perhaps a little too dark, though reg. Bastard is dark and the barrel may account for this... looks about right... solid and standard

S: vanilla, crème brûlée, charred animal fat, soured bourbon (if that makes sense) but merely a highlight - something that peaks up through the center.... mildly grain alcoholic aroma

T: ooh wow!... obvious bourbon, bold but in superb balance with a touch of syrupy crystal and huge vanilla flavor.... coffee-cake-ish malt... sweetish, raisin-y, vaguely liqueur-like booze in the finish.... sweetish throughout, really, but not cloying, indicative of high end crystal (120? special B?).... not at all reminiscent of a Scotch Ale in the traditional sense.... moderate-high sense of herbal bitterness (and a flavor I can only describe as like licking a marble counter-top) long after.... all flavors are in excellent balance and proper intensities

M: fantastic, medium-light, compact malty body.... elegantly dry.... definite silkiness from start to a little past midway, yet drops off rapidly and wonderfully

O: several cuts above the Dirty Bastard and easily one of the top 5 bourbon barrel aged beers I've had

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,073 ratings.
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