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: 8,071
Photo of tipnsip
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's like Founders crafted the Backwoods Bastard just for me! I'm a bourbon guy and when I got my first whiff of it I knew it'd be one of my faves.

The tall glass was all dark reddish-brown with a tan head. The aroma is fantastic! It's like hovering over a Maker's mark manhattan with foam on the top. Taste-wise, it's like a "soft" shot & a hearty beer all in one. It's not a boilermaker - it's a well balanced combination of the two. It's on the sweet side but not overbearing, has a strong oak under-flavor, is medium bodied and I found it very drinkable.

Granted, if you're not a fan of bourbon - you will most likely not care for this brew. But if you are a fan ... Merry Christmas!

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

Anazing beer that's rich, complex and incredibly smooth. Maroon, dark brown pour with a tight frothy head that fades away. Aroma of wood, freshly dug earth, scotch, bourbon and a bit of bitter hops. Taste flows suit with additional notes of butterscotch, smoke, caramel and vanilla. The charred-barrel flavor is awesome. Simply awesome. The lingering booze and vanilla after each sip both warms and sweetens the palette without being too hot or cloying. So smooth.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St Bernardus goblet. Bottled 22 September 2016.
A: Pours surprisingly clear nut brown, but turns deep mahogany red in the glass. No head.
S: Smells sweet and syrupy. Maple syrup, not cough syrup. Hella malt like a good scotch ale should.
T/M: Taste is astoundingly rich and deep. Huge caramel sugars roll and roll, forcing the tongue to slog through the sheer volume of flavor. The flavors come in a narrow band, akin to one another -- maple, whiskey, caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, dense bread. Even if the notes are close together, their intensity makes up for a lack of variety. Thick without ever quite being sticky. Mild carbonation. A sipper and a chewer.
O: A heavy-hitting beer that knows exactly what it wants to do and smashes into that goal with considerable force. If you don't like dark, autumnal flavors (maple, bourbon, rich Demerara) look elsewhere than this malt bomb.

Bottle tasting notes (mostly including for use of 'scintilla'):
"Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt sctoch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts. A bot of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It's a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate."

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Photo of travisd13
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Pike tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown / black that shows dark red color around the edges when held to the light. Head is about 1/4" and light tan in color...dissapates very quickly.

S- Vanilla/oak, carmel, and well bourbon! A little alcohol.

T- Bourbon front with a strong alcohol presents. Nice and malty with a hint of caramel. The bitter hop finish hides the alcohol better than expected...well done!

M- Smooth and silky due to the low carbonation. By silky I don't mean thick...if anything I'd call it a little thin for the style.

D- If it wasn't for the 10.2% I could drink this all night. However...I think two is my limit. I still call it drinkable!

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

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No clear freshness date, but there is some code on the bottle neck. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.60.

A: Piercing rusty-amber with short, small bubbled tan head with tangerine tint. Thin streamers of lace round the glass.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, wood, cherry and toffee are the upfront aromas

T: Bourbon is the first component but it is overtaken by vanilla, oak, and a soft warming cherry alcohol note. Malt is present but a little wanting but caramel and toffee are both there. Not much to say about hops.

M: Also not a full as expected, but the bourbon and alcohol are caressing. Carbonation is active which props this department. Aftertaste is strong on vanilla oakiness.

D: Surprisingly drinkable for 10.2% ABV, but the maltiness and dirtiness of Dirty Bastard are diminished. I think I like DB a little better. The evenness of the bourbon component makes me glad I drank this fresh. I'm not sure that cellaring this brew is a great idea because of the marginal nature of the maltload.

UPDATE: Definitely don't cellar more than a month or two. There is little to no heat. Buy as much of this as you can -- delicious top tier BBA ale. Stellar aroma and flavor. I have not had Dirty Bastard for a while and will have to revisit to see the connect as I have drank a case of Backwoods Bastard since my last DB.

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

love the label, love that founders is in va. after having drank one from the bottle, i didn't realize how light in color this would be. it is, after all, a scottish, but silly me, here i thought i had a stout in my belly. somewhere around carnelian in color and reaking of bourbon, vanilla, caramel, oak, and alcohol. caramel and vanilla up front then washed back with bourbon. a little sweet. much better in a glass. i could drink eleven of these if it were prudent.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= Pours a hazy brown color leading onto black but still sticking with a definite brown that is a hazy and an amber color when you hold it up to the light. The head is a little disappointing being just half a finger high and falling to a thin sheet on the beer. This this sheet leads to some solid lacing and actually has some pretty average retention.

S= Vanilla! A total vanilla bomb in my opinion. Smells very very similar to some sort of vanilla ice cream or a pudding. There is a little bourbon smell to it but nothing compared to the solid vanilla that comes from the barrels. There are also some typical Wee heavy characteristics in it however they are all blended into the delicious vanilla smell. I almost get some coconut in the nose as well. Really tasty smelling.

T= Here the bourbon comes through a little more however the vanilla coconut taste is intense. This is a total vanilla bomb. The heavy sweeter malts are there as typical from Wee Heavy's. In my opinion this is the perfect beer to put in a bourbon barrel. The vanilla flavor is the ultimate complement to the sweet malts in the Wee Heavy. Mellowed out perfectly. As it warms up the bourbon taste mellows more and the awesome sweetness follows through more. I really notice a ton of woody oak flavor as well. Really one of the best barrel aged beers I've ever had.

M= Totally smooth and mellow. My only problem with this is that i wish it would have a little less carbonation. Awesome otherwise. You can't have everything I suppose

D= Great beer. One of the best beers I've ever had. A total Vanilla bomb and everything you could want from a barrel aged beer. This has all the great woody oak flavors you can ask for without having over powering bourbon flavors and just enough of everything to make this a great beer.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clayish brown, little amount of head, nice lacing.

S - powerful barrel, bourbon, smoked peat, mild sweet, alcohol.

T - bourbon, vanilla up front, boozy, with smoky smooth bitter finish.

M - med. body, with low-med carbonation almost feels like beer in scotch form.

D - This powerful beast is a SERIOUS sipper and not for everyone. I would like to have another and perhaps age it.
This is still a must try, come on now, it's Founders!

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Photo of CaptCleveland
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

120z bottle dated 10/13/2011 poured into GL snifter.
Ruby red elixir, thin tan head dissipates; minimal lacing.
Wow, nice amalgamation of oak, malt, spice, caramel and subtle but pervasive booze.
Complex mixture of sugar cane, bourbon, malty biscuit with velvet mouthfeel and low carbonation.
This is a special brew and one that can convert the uninitiated.

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

A - Pours a thick, murky mahogany with a small tan head that has little retention, but surprisingly good lacing down the glass.

S - Big oak notes with bourbon as soon as I popped the cap. Has a good underlying sweet aromas of raisin and caramel malts, vanilla, and some apple cider.

T - Not as complex as I had hoped for, but still good. Starts off with bourbon vanilla flavors with some caramel malt sweetness mid palate, then big oak flavors with a bit of spice through the long finish. Only a little bit of heat from the booze.

M - Full, viscous body with perfectly low carbonation, but there is some residual sugary buildup coating the palate by the end of the glass.

D - Founders calls it a sipper, and I agree. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this one again, and am looking forward to getting more of this heading into the colder months.

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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 Jamesthebrit
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized founders snifter... gotta represent.

A: Little head remains whispy. A darkish reddish brown. The color is really perfect: being dark enough to see through but still looks very impressive.

S: Alcohol, molasses, a sweetness, rather overpowered by alcohol.

T: A nice sweetness both from the alcohol and a more sugary sweetness. Vanilla, molasses, woody, oak. The finish is seriously the best part with a kick of alcohol that is smooth and doesn't burn then fades into a heavy woody bourbon note.

M: Carbonation hits a little much as with the alcohol but the balance is very nice. Goes down smooth.

Overall for being such a heavy powerful beer the balance is great. I had another wee heavy ale during a tasting the other day and I couldn't handle it with the alcohol being too powerful. This founders brew was expertly balanced and dangerously easy to drink. A must try.

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Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revize after drinking this year's offering, this is a great/epic tske on the style, period!

Cheers to Bitterbill ( I think) for this one! Mine is 8.7% abv

Pours caramel/chestnut with 1 finger of tan colored head. Good head retention & outstanding lacing

S: Bourbon sweetness, some oaky notes

T: Toffee, oakyness, & whisky/bourbon up front. Vanilla follows as this warms, dryness, plus a touch of leafy hops, more toffee, raisins & a bit of booze. Finishes dry with whisky notes, & some leafy & herbal hops. Good flavor, but the oakyness is just bit much for me, almost seems artificial

MF: Medium bodied, slightly overgassed, skews a bit too sweet & oaky for me

Drinks good for the abv, & style. This is a bit off style to me, but tasty enough

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Photo of SeaUrchin
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

went to the founders happy hour at slows bbq, had this on tap into a goblet, it was of the 2009 vintage and i it is 2011, low liight room so appearance might not be perfect

appearance - mahogany, with a thin light brown head that quickly left, low carbonation, mild lacing

smell - sweet malts and mellow bourbon up front, there are caramel and toffee hints to this one, and a bit of vanilla

taste - taste follows nose, up front there is a nice sweetness from the malts and a burnt caramel toffee flavor, this fades into a very mellow vanilla bourbon flavor, finished with a a bit of a lingering bitterness but not much

mouthfeel - thick, almost syrupy but also light, hard to describe but very fitting

overall - great beer, i think i liked it more than fresh after everything melded together, have 4 2010's left so ill see how they are doing soon

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Photo of Cmun01
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible beer, I agree with other reviews for the alcohol level this was very smooth. Hard to find beer, could only buy 2 four packs in my town in PA. Nice subtle taste and smell of chocolate, carmel and bourbon.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle out of my Harpoon LE tulip.

A- Deep reddish brown, very clean. Nice off white head, 1 finger or so. Nice lacing too.

S- Smells sweet and bourbony. Notes of vanilla and molassas. Perhaps a touch of oak.

T- Smooth and full of bourbon. The vanilla notes stand out the most to me. Starts smooth, and then really opens up.

M- Pretty much perfect. Just right with the carbonation, and the beer has just the right body.

D- This is a heavy one, but the initial flavor is just so good. A nice sipper on a cold night, very tasty

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to TheSevenDuffs for sending this west.

A: chestnut brown with a bare bones off white run if retention. All the excitement is saved for the smell & taste.
S: Reminiscent of all things traditionally masculine. Bold with dried fruits, cherries, plums, and plums soaked in brandy. Heavy wet oaks, fresh cigar boxes, tanned leather and a dankness of wet wool. Cue Earnest Hemingway.
T: the wet oaks come to the forefront and are complimented with dark dried fruits, leather finished with vanilla and a note of brandy.
M: Low carbonation and a thin ale, while still satisfying in the feel, without sticking too heavy on the palette.
O: An excellent example of using barrel aging to develop complexity and create an ale that stands up well as an aperitif. The fruits, leather, vanilla, wood and dankness all suggest to me a mix of old world pleasures.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep maroon color with a small head and a touch of lacing. Nose is huge bourbon - delicious, if fairly straightforward. Flavor is similar, huge bourbon and malt. A complex taste - dried fruits, a hint of alcohol spiciness, and then bourbon all over the place again. Absolutely delicious. Body is nice and full, somewhere between syrupy and full bodied. Overall, a delicious one - glad I got to try it. Another winner from Founders.

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Photo of LanceW
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a wonderful beer.

A: The brew was thick in appearance but not too malty in the mouth. I drank it a night so the color was dark so that is all I could say.

S: The smell was sweet and faint hint of alcohol was in the back ground along with notes of barrel aged

T: Full of flavor. Very dark and the taste of the barrel age came through on a perfect balance. Some time the taste of what was previously brewed in the barrel can be strong but this was an equal pairing.

M: Thick but not syrupy.

D: Oh yeah.

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Photo of justintcoons
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a beautifully clear chestnut brown with ruby red highlights. Has 1 finger of khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. A moderate stream of carbonation rises from the center. Tight lacing webs around the edge of the glass.

N: Huge bourbon notes with vanilla and oak really showcase on the nose. Underneath is rich caramel, molasses, dark fruit and some pleasant booze notes.

T: Huge vanilla and bourbon notes with hints of oak upfront. Rich caramel, molasses, candy sugar, dates with hints of leather, tobacco and some slight cocoa. Finishes with oak, bourbon, brown sugar and subtle floral notes (that seem almost clove-esque.)

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied, surprisingly. Silky, creamy and sticky with some bitter bite in the finish.

O: A delicious, malty Bastard expertly aged in oak bourbon barrels. Comes off smooth and easy drinking for 10.2%. Although there's a slight hint of booze it seems rather pleasant. This is the best Wee Heavy around, hands down!

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Photo of IPA1978
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- dark cola in color, thin head little to no retention, wine like lacing.

S- Dark fruits, vanilla, toasted marshmallows, cocoa, touch of smoke.

T- Thick rich dried fruits, figgy, toasted coconut, vanilla, smoky bourbon, hops are there but hard to discern amongst the strong flavors but bitters and brings it all together. Finishes surprisingly dry and a boozy but not overwhelmingly so.

M- velvety smooth light carbonation, fills the mouth with a warming fullness from the abv.

O- An absolute surprise, possibly one of the best bourbon barrel aged beer I've had. A bit rough at times but I can see this beer approaching perfection with some age

10/28/16 - this years release has a lot of toasted coconut in the nose and flavor, great bb aged brew.

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Photo of 4amepiphany
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle, can't read the date, but I assume it's quite fresh on the shelf.

The season is winter, I've had a craving for anything aged in a barrel. Picked up a 12oz single at my local shop for something to drink for the night. I've heard about this brew, and I finally got to see it sold in singles, so I grabbed it with no hesitation.

Poured cold into a KBS snifter. A wonderful dark amber color, and it hits you with bourbon notes right away. I was afraid it was going to be too boozy, at 10.2%. I let it sit for a few minutes before taking the first sip, and WOW. Full of flavor. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, but... a bite of alcohol that quickly dissipates along the palate! VERY well done. Probably the most appealing feature to me. All the taste, none of the burn. I'm halfway through the snifter and I can feel the warmth slowly embracing me. I can't seem to stop taking sips even though I should slow it down a bit. This beer is wonderful. Pick one up when you can.


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Photo of FoundersFanatic
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- dark brown/ruby color, looks very appealing

S- smells like booze. Bourbon or whisky smell pretty much dominates

T- tastes like bourbon/whisky, a bit of caramel maltiness, and finishes with a bit of a spicy note. Very boozy

M- alright, pretty smooth, but a bit thin for the taste

O- a very good beer that will sort of remind you of CBS or KBS without the coffee and deep complex flavors. It's basically 3 flavors of bourbon/whisky, caramel malt, and spice note finish. Very strong and will knock you out. A very good beer

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Photo of RichD
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Newport Storm snifter.

A: Pours a dark auburn with about a finger of a light tan head. Leaves some lacing on the glass throughout.

S: Smells of sweet bourbon and that may be it. I think I may even smell the alcohol. Nothing too overpowering though.

T: Smooth bourbon is the prominent flavor in this. Founders seems to do a superb job when it comes to barrel aging their beers. I've had the Dirty Bastard and the taste is very different from this. It's delicious for what it is though.

M: Medium mouthfeel and of course there's some warming at the end of each sip.

Overall: This is a great barrel aged brew from Founders and I know why this is highly sought after. I'm glad my local store still has cases upon cases of this because that means that they're basically aging it for me. The boozy taste has mellowed out over the last few months and I cannot imagine aging this more than a few months regardless of what it says. Either way this is delicious and I will definitely keep buying when I run out of what I have.

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Photo of rye726
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a silky tan head that displays nice lacing and retention.

Nose has lots of bourbon, oak and vanilla up front followed by dark fruits, chocolate, caramel and roasty malts.

Taste has candy malts, figs, plums, whiskey, cocoa, oak and vanilla.

Medium body is a bit over carbonated, but drinks quite well once it opens up.

Another great ale from Founders, never had a bad beer from these guys.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,071 ratings.
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