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: 1,822 | Ratings: 8,022
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 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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Photo of aquabears
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby with minimal head - the foam that is there is yellow/brown/white. Smells boozy, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, and sweet... Taste is rich and smooth. Malty with caramel and bourbon, very minimal carbonation, oily feel that coats your mouth. Rich and chewy and dangerously drinkable.

Also. As I drink, I end up with an almost ice-cream-like aftertaste in the back of my throat. This is pretty incredible.

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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 Bierman9
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 4-pack of this recently for $16.00. Label shows bottled 26SEP16, and notes a current ABV of 11.2%.
Also have had this on tap at the Nashua Garden, a 12oz pour for $4.00 during Happy Hour!!

Poured a 12oz bottle into a small tulip. It is a very dense, opaque bier, but there are some lovely ruby/garnet highlights showing when held up to the light. Has very little head to speak of save for some fine, light tan bubbles gathering at the edge of the glass. Lacing is on the light side as well. The aroma is superb, with the bourbon blending with some caramel and peat for a great olfactory experience. The body is medium-plus and a touch chewy, and the liquid is satiny smooth going down.

Flavor has some caramel sweetness and brown sugar hitting the palate first. The bourbon is easily detected, mixing in with a bit of vanilla, some peaty malts and a hint of oak. Doesn't have much of your typical hoppy action, but it does finish with some earthy notes. The alcohol is, scarily, well-hidden in this tasty Bastard.

4.47/5 rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


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

Get ur gandalf on in a secret cave chillin with your precious because this one is quite the smooth beast and will reward those that seek it's candy scotch splendor

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Photo of ChipChaight
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle Noble Grains NYC on the UES
Pours a dark amber almost red with minimal light tan head and thick boozy lacing, smell is thick sweet boozy toffee, caramel, molasses and a hint of maple syrup, taste is sweet molasses and mild maple syrup, transitioning into nice roasted malts and warming bourbon, this beer is surprisingly light, mildly carbonated, very sweet. Straight up maple bourbon candy.

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Photo of Jraiona
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- A deep mahogany with a 1 finger head with minimal retention and fair lacing

S- Once poured even at an arms distance from my nose the inticing aroma of roasted malt was very prevalent. Once I brought the glass to my nose definite caramel notes were noticeable with just a subtle hint of raisin.

T- There is a light but very perceptible flavor of bourbon with very light charred oak that is enhanced and plays well with the sweetness of roasted malt. There is a slight and pleasant back end bitterness that is almost chocolaty.

F- Very light on the tongue and surprisingly smooth and clean for an 11.6% beer.

Overall I would agree with a previous reviewer that this is to date my favorite Scotch Ale and highly recommend it.

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Photo of seedyone
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From bottle at home in a stunted Pilsner Ommegang glass. 2016 Release.

Me Oh My...Thanks to Ben, at Whole Foods, without whom I would have passed this by.

Label says "ale aged in oak bourbon barrels". I'm big on the bourbon barrel aged stuff, but look more to porters & stouts & have overlooked this fine brew for some time.

It ain't cheap but I've come to accept my trashy attraction to the big boys & their big prices. Herein is a competitively priced big flavored brew, that, category aside stands tall. My prejudice would have passed it over for being a mere ale. That it is not.

The color is a deep mahogany with a stingy head & negligible lacing. The aroma is more full then big. There's the oak,of coarse, but also rich vanilla & lots of raisin & caramel. The big surprise is the mouthful. It exceeds what I would expect from an ale. It pushes the boundaries.

My take was a great surprise of a full bodied, big flavored, adult strength treat that deserve a place on anyone's list.

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Photo of Ryan4120
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

L - deep brown amber with minimal tan head
S - sweet bourbon, malt, dried fruit, caramel, molasses
T- follows the nose with strong sweet bourbon flavors up from followed by malt, molasses, caramel, and dried fruits. Definitely boozy.
F - Fully body with a moderate amount of carbonation - sticky
O - a very complex, strong bourbon barrel aged ale.

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Photo of jaketaz
4.77/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of the few beers I've had in my life that receives constant hype and then actually lives up to said hype. Excellent Scotch ale that exceeds the great Oskar Blues "Old Chub", and does in fact improve upon the already great Dirty Bastard. It keeps the chewy salted caramel texture of Dirty Bastard, then jacks up the alcohol content and tops it off with bourbon barrel bite. The one issue I have with Scotch Ale (easily one of the best styles of beer) is that it can be a bit too sweet, but the tang imparted from a torched oak barrel is the perfect solution. Bourbon barrel aging has become almost a cliche in the craft beer world but I would say it benefits this style of beer even more than the strong American stouts to which it's usually applied. It's got texture and smoothness for days, one of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Jpb123
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: held up to light appears to be translucent dark brown with deep red/purple, almost a dark maroon

Smell: sweet aromas of vanilla, sugars, raisins

Taste: sweet bourbon, oak, vanilla, delicious

Feel: smooth, for 11.6% abv you cannot detect alcohol very much

Overall: Probably my favorite Scotch Ale to date, although I'm not a connoisseur

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours deep dark brownish purple color with thin tan head not much lacing.

Aroma - Oak, vanilla, caramel nice bourbon smell. This thing has an amazing smell.

Taste - Very nice smooth flavor, more oak and vanilla very mild bourbon flavors no way I would think this was 11.6%. Mild chocolate and caramel.

Feel - Heavier full feel, very smooth and coating great feel.

Overall - I not notch beer, no int of the alcohol great flavors smooth as silk.

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Photo of KevCan
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bought a 4-pack of 12 oz. bottles from Whole Foods in Arlington, VA. Bottled 10/6/16. Poured into a tulip glass.

Look: Dark ruby, small head.

Smell: Sweet smelling, clear bourbon barrel notes. Begs to be drunk.

Taste: Totally awesome. The high ABV is well-hidden by the strong, sweet, maltiness.

Feel: Thick, syrupy sweet. Coats the mouth.

Overall: Fantastic, tons of flavor. Superb example of a Scotch Ale.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,022 ratings.
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