Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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

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Reviews: 1,750 | Ratings: 7,758
Photo of turfy
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Poured a deep brown with a touch of mahogany. A small half finger tan head soon dissipated into a film with heavier ring.

S - Complex aroma of bourbon, caramel and vanilla.

T - First impression was of smooth bourbon and brown sugar with some alcohol heat. Lots of other traces going on here - caramel, oak, maybe some dried fruit?

M- Very smooth and creamy with perfect carbonation. Not too sticky - just right!

O - I like this a lot! This would be a perfect cold weather sipper. A very high quality complex brew, once again, from Founders.

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Photo of nataku00
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle, about a year old, poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a murky dark brown with some reds at the edges. No head on the pour, and lots of alcohol legs.

Nose is caramel, toffee, red berry, molasses, brown sugar, milk chocolate, vanilla, and a light barrel woodiness.

Taste follows the nose, nice caramel and toffee upfront, then some cherry and red berry as it warms. Barrel and bourbon notes on the swallow, vanilla, oak, light earthiness. More milk chocolate as the beer warms.

Medium full body with mild carbonation, more than I thought a high abv beer would have but doesn't take away from the experience. Alcohol is well hidden, but a bit of warmth after swallowing.

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Photo of brewtus
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Copied from 11/12/2012 review

12oz bottle pored into brandy sniftener

A-deep amber h brown. Pours with a tiny head that quickly disappears.
S- Dark fruit, oak, some bourbon
T- I get a hit of van ilia and dark dried fruit that makes way to a sweet oak finish.
M- a good thickness to it, given the appearance.
O- this is really smooth for the abv. It's quite sweet and I get the bourbon mostly in the finish. I'm not a huge scotch ale fan, but I love bourbon, and this did not disappoint. I pulled it out of the fridge but as it warmed it got even better. Definitely worth picking up a bottle (even though many stores limit it to buying one oz bottle near me).

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (bottled on 10/08/11) poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance: Careful pour to leave in the sediment gave a dark copper / ruby red beer that didn't let a lot of light through when held up to the light. Translucent would best describe a full glass of this beer. Light tan head died down to a ring at the edge and the barest whispers of lacing here and there.

Smell: Wow! Bourbon + toffee in abundance. Reminds me of some Whiskey Fudges I had from a English store a few years ago.

Taste: When cold, definitely hot with alcohol, but this flavor (strongly accentuated by the bourbon flavors) mellows out greatly as the beer warms up. Bourbon + Toffee again, maybe even some caramel. Sweet, but not cloying. Very mild bitter finish that blends into everything at the end of the sip. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, thick, and oh so smooth. A bit sticky on the teeth. Just right carbonation on the tongue.

Overall / Drinkability: A definite slow sipper. Amazingly good, but one is enough. Becomes much more dangerous as it warms up as the alcohol gets hidden. Thankfully the bourbon flavor and smell is there to remind you of the higher ABV and to slow down. I think this is a wee heavy that would indeed put a fierce scotsman in his place, mellowing him out with one, and prompting him to fight after two. As I said about the aroma, it's like a whiskey toffee fudge candy in liquid beer form and that makes this a very good beer overall.

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Photo of kdahnke123
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage poured into a snifter. Served at room temperature.
A - Thick creamy pout with a light head.
S - Heavy on the bourbon, followed by a good amount of malt and finally a small amount of hops.
T - Similar to the smell. Sweet malt taste with warm bourbon heat and some oaky vanilla. Only traces of hops.
M - Medium on the mouth coating. Mid-level carbonation.
O - A very good version of a Scotch Ale. Highly recommended.

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Photo of powpig2002
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First one was good. Next night better. 3rd one...out fuckin standing. Took a couple to really appreciate what's going on. One per session for me. Will be grabbing this whenever it is seen. Glad I couldn't get a single. Wouldn't have given it a second thought.

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Photo of demitriustown
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz Bottle: Plum, roasted malt, bourbon, oak. vanilla, and some sugar notes consists the aroma of this brew. Appearance is an almost opaque dark brown to black with a little light creeping through the actual brew. Taste is Bourbon big time with later the sweet malt and woody, oak, vanilla, and roast textures peaking through. Finishes with an almost vanilla ice cream/ shot of whiskey like taste. Overall, I love this brew. Great tasting and very complex. Thumbs up to Founders!

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Photo of Andrew61923
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Portsmouth tulip. Sat out at room temperature for 20 minutes before reviewing.

A: A dark reddish brown with a small off-white head that quickly dissipates into a small halo along the glass' edge. Leaves some lacing.

S: Bourbon heavy with a lot of sweetness coming through. Picking up some notes of vanilla and a little bit of cocoa if I'm not mistaken. A big fan of this, even more so as I sniff on it more. Some dark fruit and tobacco coming out as well.

T: Definitely get the bourbon up front, which quickly coats the tongue before fading away to the dark fruit and tobacco I got from the nose. The taste lingers a relatively short while, especially in comparison to what I expected. Some nice malt flavor at the end. Definitely going to savor this.

M: A lot thicker than I expected, especially for the style. Does a good job of coating the tongue and palette. Some alcohol heat at the end, but in an enjoyable way. The barrel is definitely establishing its authority here.

O: I'm really glad I cracked this tonight. Looking for a beer to slowly sip and enjoy, I'm looking forward to seeing how this one warms up. Also happy I have three more bottles to sit on. I'll likely drink two soon since I'm liking where it is right now, but will be interested to see how it ages.

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Photo of Mikus
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep, muddy brown true to form. Headless. Bourbon and oak in spades on the nose. Vanilla notes breaking through the bourbon. Vanilla dominates the front of the tongue, warming feel on the mid, and nice slap of the bourbon on the back end. Smooth mouthfeel with long lingering presence of the barrel. This is excellent. Even better as it is a rare treat for me. Probably not an everyday drinker if I had the choice, but excellent for a special occasion.

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Photo of MrStark
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is a dark reddish brown with a small off white head that unfortunately dissipated quickly.

Smell is has a nice caramel sweetness to it with vanilla as well. The bourbon is there for sure in strength, to me making it a quite inviting aroma.

Taste is what the smell would make me expect, a pretty heavy bourbon flavor. And although its strong, its certainly doesn't seam overpowering and makes for a nice rich and sweet flavor with a bit of bitterness towards the end.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth. Seams pretty slick on tongue and is quite pleasant.

Drinkability is great! I think it goes down quite easy for the amount of alcohol. I don't think I would say its a session beer though as it might sneak up on you. This is something I would have one in a night. Something to savor every now and then.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was served lightly chilled and in a tulip glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a murky brown coloration. The head was a thin cream coloration that quickly went away. Speckles of lacing rim my glass as the beer journeys down my throat.

Smell: Boozey bourbon and oakey vanilla lead the charge. This rides a very nice tide of smokeyness, peat, toasted maltyness dark fruits raisins.

Taste: This delivers a pleasing vanilla and bourbon flavor. This combines well with maple syrup, toasted malt, soft smokeyness, a bit of butterscotch and fruityness. A bourbon soaked malt driven beer.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer has a full body. It is lightly carbonated. The beer even pulls off a bit of creamyness. This beer is a sipper by many peoples standards. I had to restrain myself from guzzling this malt bomb.

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Photo of WhyBeNormal
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Backwoods smells of bourbon, toasted vanilla, sweet toffee, and roasted dark malts. Tastes of caramel-y malts balanced by bitter smoke and all pulled together by bourbon deliciousness. Long smoky finish, similar to burned marshmallows. Mouthfeel is a bit warm from the 10.2% ABV. Definitely a slow sipper.

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Photo of swedishmailman
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a fat tulip.

Appearance is a dark copper that has a slight ruby color when held up to the light. Light tan head that is relatively thin, but sticking around for awhile. Tight bubbles. No light is getting through. Looks inviting.

Aroma is sweet malt, a slight earthy tone, some vanilla, a bit of a fig smell. I get a bit of the bourbon character because I know this is aged in bourbon barrels, but it doesn't scream barrel aged.

Taste is delicious. Huge malt character. It's got a nice butterscotch flavor on the back end. The barrel character shines through here much more than in the aroma. Slight alcohol burn on the finish but nothing overwhelming. Not too boozy at all. A slight warming sensation comes pleasantly with every sip. It's got a pretty sweet finish. No hop character that I can pick up whatsoever.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy. It's not the thickest beer I've ever drank, but definitely has a syrupy feel to it, especially as it warms up.

Overall this is a damn good beer. It doesn't have an insanely huge barrel character, but it definitely adds to the beer perfectly. One of the better offerings I've had from Founders.

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Photo of ATPete
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a solid brown color that glows a bright orange in the light from underneath my Dogfish snifter. A small head forms and quickly disappears leaving only a ring, oblong in thickness. I could sit and smell this beer all day long. Complex notes of vanilla, sweet malt, butter scotch, root beer barrel candy, coconut, subtle wet wood, cream soda, caramel and a tame whiff of lightly astringent alcohol. Amazing. The beer tastes just as good as it smells, a lot of the same combinations and layers of its aroma come through in flavor. Although this is definitely a sipper the alcohol is very well hidden behind the deep flavor profile. Full bodied with very light carbonation that barely pricks the tongue. Backwoods Bastard drinks like poetry and receives one of my highest recommendations.

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Photo of Durge
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tall glass at room temperature this wee heavy shows a deep mahogany with rosy/root beer colored edges. It produces a solid, light tan head that settles into a nice blanket and leaves a respectable web of lacing. The aroma offers deep vanilla scotch and woodsy malt, subtle dark fruits and heavy grains. Completely enticing. The first taste brings intense scotch malt with super sweet pine and deep fig/prune. Vanilla certainly comes back as well with a sure alcohol presence but one that does not block the urge to go back to the well to keep the flavor coming. Bourbon and oak can definitely be identified, as advertized. It's just such a classic medley of all things a scotch ale should be, and then some. It's a pretty hefty brew with fairly full body, nearly cloying except that the flavor works right through it to make it drinkable enough for the style. It's finely, but thoroughly carbonated and makes for a smooth, somewhat silky feel that works well despite the seriousness of this brew. I'd say the 10% ABV-plus is evident but very well managed here. It's just a great, serious scotch ale. A wee heavy, yes, exquisitely so!

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Photo of match1112
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours out a rich brown body with copper highlights all thru it. not much carbonation to speak of, just a thin tan ring that eventually disappears. there are notes of vanilla and oak that blend wonderfully to make a nice bourbon aroma. taste is like drinking bourbon without the burn. once again the vanilla shines thru with a dry oak feel to it and a nice caramel malt balance. mouthfeel is silky smooth, almost oily, it goes down so smooth with just a touch of warming in the belly. overall this is an excellent beer that everyone should try.

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Photo of mattyb
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice reddish/brown color, some tints of copper. Small head spread out over the entire beer and lingered for a couple minutes.

S - Alcohol smell that burns the nose in a good way then caramel, vanilla, and bourbon follow that.

T - Great bourbon flavor, oak mellows it to make it very tasty. A good mixture of vanilla, toffee, and dried fruit mingle on the palate.

M - Medium thickness and good carbonation, nice drying effect from the bourbon.

O - Great beer, love the strong bourbon taste, it will be hard for me to age any of these since the bourbon and vanilla are so delicious. Pretty drinkable for 10% and I must be a lightweight since this started to numb my tongue.

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Photo of trbergman
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A - Ruddy chestnut with ruby highlights and a thin sand-colored head.

S - Breadcrust, molasses, fig, raisin, tobacco, sherry. Pronounced caramelized maltiness with the barest hint of bourbon.

T - Quite malty at first, with full, caramel flavors. Dried fruits are also present, as well as pleasant notes of sherry and tobacco. Bourbon barrel aging adds further complexity, with hints of toast and vanilla. The wood lends some astringency, which, in combination with hop bitterness, balances the rich malt. As the beer warms, prickly alcohol becomes more apparent in the back of the mouth.

M - Full, rich body. Incredibly smooth and lush, with an understated carbonation that cleanses the palate and keeps the beer from becoming cloying.

D - While this is not an incredibly boozy beer, the alcohol can grow tiresome. That aside, this is a solid beer worth seeking out again.

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Photo of rudzud
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by jlindros so I wouldn't have to crack one of my bottles. Poured into a snifter.

A - Poured into a snifter a clear ruby with a nice head that faded to leave a nice, slightly thick blanket.

S - Wow, the aroma...magical. Butter, oak, bourbon, with light sweet malts.

T - Very nice bourbon notes here with more oak. The ABV isnt noticeable at all...very smooth and creamy tasting with great harmony between flavours.

M - Smooth and creamy, this stuff is deliciously drinkable.

O - Overall this beer was delicious. Sad I only have two bottles of this. Wish I had more.

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Photo of SummitVA
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep mahogany pour with ample carbonation.

S - Vanilla, bourbon, oak, toffee, wonderful malt complexity, and a little booze.

T - Vanilla and oak foremost, followed by sweet toffee, burnt sugar, and bit of coconut--this lingers along with the vanilla and bourbon. Somewhat boozy. Tannic quality in the finish that lends a dryness.

M - Heavier side of medium. Definitely chewy, but not overpoweringly so.

O - Another fantastic barrel-aged brew from Founders. Wish I would have bought more.

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Photo of Chaney
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a chocolate amber color, with a 1/2 finger or so ghostly creme color that retained itself pretty well.

S: The nutty, bourbon influence was most evident, with a musty, malty undertow, with a nice dark fruit (prune and fig) presence.

T: I really loved how the bourbon killed some of the "dog food" quality that sometimes turns me off to Scotch Ales. What is left is a malty, caramel and toffee filled glass of malty, nutty, goodness.

M: Just the right amount of prickle, creamy, and not a trace of booze... unless you figure the bourbon influence into that equation (which I don't). The was an off-white streak here and there left on the glass.

O: I've never been a big fan of "Dirty Bastard." Witness the power of bourbon barrel-ageing!

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/5/12
Poured into tulip

Appearance: The pour yielded barely a half finger amount of light tan head that dissipated very quickly. Lacing was nonexistent. It is a burgundy brown color that let very little light through. When held up to the light the color transformed into an awesome reddish brown.

Smell: Now this I'm digging! Sweet malts with molasses and maple, bourbon, oak, vanilla, some dark fruit, coconut. Nose is not overpowering but what I do get here is very nice. Alcohol is present but not dominating.

Taste: This is one intense rich tasting beer with the bourbon the major player. The sweetness in this is huge too. There is oak, vanilla, molasses, and a dark fruit component. The alcohol doesn't really show up until at the very end to me and leaves an awesome warming effect on the swallow. I feel this down my throat and into my chest. The smoothness of the alcohol at 10.2% and this being less than a month old is absolutely amazing!

Mouthfeel: On the heavier side of medium I'd say. It tastes like I chewed a bourbon coated candy caramel and it covered the inside of my mouth. Carbonation is extremely light but nice and typical for a big bourbon barrel aged beer.

Overall: This one had a shit ton of hype behind it and with this my first try of it, I'd say it has held its own! I'm a sucker for big bourbon barrel aged beers and Founders does seem to know what they are doing in this category.

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Photo of slentz
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 9/30/11. Very fresh. Bottle to snifter at about 50 degrees.

A: Easy pour down the center of the glass leads to a half finger head off white head that slowly dissipates to a thin ring. Color is cherry cola colored beautiful brownish red hue with nice bubbles rising up from the glass. 4.0

S: Smells of vanilla, caramel, malt, brown sugar, cinnamon, slight bourbon. Really not much alcohol burn on the nose. Smells delicious. 4.5

T: Tastes like a smooth rum and coke. Damn this is really really smooth hardly any bourbon bite. I kind of miss the bourbon bite here as it so exceptionally easy drinking. This tastes like it has been aged for a while but still very damn good. 4.5

M: Mouthfeel is great on this one. Carbonation is spot on nice and prickly on the tongue. Finish is very nice 4.5

O: Overall this beer is pretty damn awesome. I would like to see some more bourbon bite on this one but it's still damn good. Another superior offering from Founders! 4.5

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L-Dark, Dark brown almost black with a 1/2 inch off white head. The head recedes to a half centimeter ring with excellent lacing.
S-Malty sweetness with traces of bourbon and hints of roast.
T- a complex mix of malty sweetness, bourbon, caramel and alcohol throughout. Finishes with alcohol warmth.
F- Mouthfeel is thinner than the taste suggests. All the flavor of a stout with the mouthfeel of an ale. A really great combo which makes it stand out.
O-One of the best beers I've ever tasted. My new favorite wee heavy moving just ahead of Old Chub. I'll be buying this whenever I see it.

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Photo of Dave11899
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%

2013 12oz bottle release poured on 08/03/14 into a snifter

Appearance is dark brown with a minimal khakis head. Seeing particulates that have appeared in the brew since enjoying on the release day.

Aroma is slight bourbon, vanilla, caramel with some oak, And... Something else. Maybe coconut... Just smells sweet but not dark fruit.

Taste is heavy Scotch and oak. This dwindles with warmth and air. Picking up faint vanilla on the back end. No hops bitterness.

Mouthfeel is smooth with harsh hot tones present fresh out of the beer fridge. The hot mellows with warmth. Slight to moderate body. Still a 4/5.

Overall a great beer. Compared to KBS, I would give 4 of this to 1 KBS. However, I feel this is a more complex beer. I am unsure as to how this directly compares with fresh vs aged (even though I've had both). Yet still great!

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.25 out of 5 based on 7,758 ratings.
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