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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: 1,754 | Ratings: 7,777
Photo of Lazerlobe
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky brown with mixed up sediment, great head.

S: Big sweet malts, raisins, vanilla,

T: Wow! Powerful bourbon, soft toffee and roasted malt meld together. Some smoke and robust malts linger on the palate. Bittering hops come through a bit at the end.

M: A bit hot, but delicious nevertheless. Rich mouthfeel is to be expected and does not let down.

D: I love this beer and would pick up some more if they were on the shelves out here.

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Photo of busternuggz
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 12 oz bottle poured into a Belgian glass.
Nice ruby-brown color with a 1/4" khaki head. The head settles to a thin frothy layer but leaves persistent lacing.
Smells like bourbon & bourbon spiciness, oak, caramel, and an odd sweet note like marzapan. A little subdued.
The taste is rich, leading with bourbon, spice, and oak notes, then caramel and just a little cocoa, with a creamy sweetness on the finish. Alcohol burn comes in on the aftertaste with a little astringency, but this mellows as it warms up.
Very nice texture. Lighter side of full bodied, smooth and creamy, especially as it warms up.
Pretty smooth for a barrel aged 10% beer, but the alcohol heat brings the drinkability down.
Overall pretty rich and tasty, but the flavors are too dominated by the bourbon notes and it has a bit too much heat.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at a Founders event at The Big Hunt in DC.
Pours a dark brown color with ruby red hues. Creamy beige head with good lacing.
Smell is mainly of bourbon, vanilla, oak and some dark/chocolate malt.
Taste is very strong and starts with caramel and chocolate but soon gets overpowered by a heavy bourbon and vanilla blast.
Creamy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and some alcohol notes. Aftertaste is chocolaty and oaky.
Great well balanced scotch ale. Definitely going to buy me some bottles later this week.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip.

A- Pours a dark brown with amber tints around the edges of the glass. A small head, about a quarter of a finger worth only leaves a small ring around the glass. No lacing left behind.

S- A lot of complexities here. Big hints of bourbon, peat and some nice brown sugar. As it warms some black licorice comes out, a little alcohol and is rounded out by some vanilla.

T- Big bourbon, smooth but not overwhelming. The bourbon gives way to some vanilla, brown sugar and the peat makes itself known. The alcohol is very well hidden, only noticeable by the warming.

M- Full bodied and very smooth. A touch of warming on the throat from the alcohol. No real feel of carbonation to speak of.

D- This is one of those dangerous beers. Big abv that is hidden well and all around great flavors. If you like big bourbon notes, this one is for you.

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Photo of nhindian
3.25/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

This is an interesting one for me. At this time, it is my second barrel aged beer and my second Wee Heavy, and the first time both come together for me. Not really sure what to expect but here goes!

A - Pours a really muddy, ruby red color with brown and plum highlights. Builds about a 2.5-fingered head that is almost gone before I can turn around and look at it again. Some minimal lacing on the side I'm drinking out of, but besides that the glass is pretty scarce.

S - Smell is dominated mostly by sweet, smokey peat, malts, and bourbon. Oak and earth tones are really prominent, and after straining, I can barely pick up some fruit and vanilla notes.

T - The first thing I really pick up about the taste of this beer is the overbearing sweetness in the aftertaste. There's the Wee Heavy characteristics I found before, and the bourbon is there too, but the most memorable thing about this beer is the long, sweet aftertaste. Could definitely benefit from more bourbon character or some way to balance the sweetness. The finish is long, and I can pick up the vanilla and oak a lot more easily than the nose.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with mild carbonation. Rather than getting more of the bourbon shock I experienced with Weyerbacher's Insanity, this leaves the palate relatively barrel-taste free and the most forward characteristic is the sweetness.

D - Drinkability for me is fairly low. It may be just me getting acclimated to both of the styles, but I found this to be a real sipper and it wasn't easy to get down. For me, the sweet malts were just too much for this beer.

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Photo of wspscott
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip
bottled 0/27/09

A: Pours a dark brown color, looks like a dark english brown ale. There is no sign of a head and only a slight hint of off-white lace.
S: A definite "bourbon-ness", some wood and vanilla scents along with some sweetness, no sign of hops.
T: The bourbon is very upfront, not overpowering, but definitely there. The malt character that I expect in a Wee Heavy is not apparent or is hidden under the bourbon. There is absolutely no sign of the alcohol
M: There are some drying tannins here which help to prevent this from being cloying. A medium level of attenuation combined with just enough carbonation also help a lot.
D: A nice beer, not too overpowering with the bourbon character, at the same time, it seems a little one dimensional. I just read my review of Dirty Bastard and it seems like some of that goodness is missing. I like this beer, but don't love it. May have to revisit in the future. Worth trying if you are a bourbon fan or really like barrel aged beers.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep orange-red body with no head whatsover.

For a scotch ale, this was surprisingly aromatic. Tons of vanilla and butterscotch. I also picked up coconut and wood.

Impressive flavor, too. The bourbon qualities are vanilla and wood. It has a peat/smokey scotch-like finish.

The mouthfeel, despite being a little boozy, is smooth and well rounded.

High abv is the only detractor, otherwise a very drinkable beer and one worth seeking out.

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

The fresh batch, poured into a snifter.

Appearance- Pours a dark brown with a one finger tan head. Some amber highlights when held to the light. The head fades to a ring around the glass, but leaves nice lace.

Smell- Big bourbon on the nose. Vanilla, caramel, woody tones.

Taste- Mostly bourbon again and lots of caramel. This is sweet, but not cloying. A subtle hop presence and lots of vanilla. A bit earthy, some dark fruits and maple syrup. I guess this really tastes how it should!

Mouthfeel- medium body / low carbonation.

Overall- I find this one to be excellent! The bourbon notes are very present, but not over the top. The abv's are hidden very well. I will be drinking more of this fresh and ageing a few bottles to see what happens.

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Photo of BHwks
3.79/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, served around 45-50 degrees. A - cloudy amber in color, very little carbonation, very little head when poured. S - Whew, smells like I'm taking a whiff from a bottle of bourbon (this is a good thing for me as I enjoy bourbon) Reminds me a little of JW Lees/Bourbon County Stout, in terms of smell. T - Definitely dominated by the bourbon. A little fruit/maple flavor after the initial sip, though still dominated by bourbon. M - Very thick, syrupy, almost like when you sip whiskey and savor it before swallowing. D - Not too good. Hot and bourbony, but almost too much. I really don't want another given this one has taken me about an hour to consume.

I've loved this beer in the past though can't remember if it's always this "hot" upon release. Right now the bourbon completely dominates the other flavors. I seem to remember it being a bit more balanced, even fresh. I'd like to give this 6+ months and see if the flavors seem to come together a bit making this a little easier to drink. The potential for greatness is there, just needs a little time I think.

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Photo of salvo
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Oh wow, this is a big, fantabulous beer! Founders does great things with barrels.

Pours thick and rich into a goblet; motor-oil dark beer spreads over the glass underneath an off-white coating of foam that quickly dissipates. Smells of raisins and dried currants, vanilla, oak, and smoke; hints of leather and tree bark. More aromas emerge as the beer warms, but that will have to wait for subsequent re-reviews. I'm having trouble waiting, though.

Tastes start off with big, sweet, soppy, thick, rich complex molasses and vanilla. Bourbon is assertive and sweet, as is oak and smoke from the charred barrel. Some sweet dried fruit; figs and dates are in the taste not present in the nose. Again, more nuance and complexity comes out as it warms, but I'm not going to be patient enough for this beer to make it all the way to room temperature. ALcohol asserts itself at the end of the sip.

Thick, rich and chewy; very satisfying, this is a great wintertime beer and I'll be putting up a few bottles for those January snow days with an extra log on the ire and time to kill. Drinkability takes a shot because I've had one and i'm done for the night. Pick up a four pack of these before they disappear.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep,dark ruby that is almost black with 1 1/2 fingers worth of quickly dissipating,tawny head that left gorgeous frothy,lacing.

S-The nose is big on bourbon upfront.Bourbon,toast and burnt sugar on first smelling it.Some vanilla and molasses come out as the beer warms.

T-There is a definite bourbon presence on the initial taste but it is by no means overpowering.The bourbon taste mellows to reveal
caramel,vanilla and medium bodied tobacco.The finish is all mellow bourbon sweetness.

M-This beer is full,boozey and quite smooth considering the ABV and Bourbon influence.A very well balanced Bourbon-Barrel aged beer.

D-Obviously this beer is not for people who don't appreciate a good bourbon but for those that due it is a smooth and drinkable must try.

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Photo of therachinator
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this beer in a 12 oz bottle. Poured it into a glass. There was no head. The appearance was a nice caramel color with ruby tints visible in the light. The smell was wonderful. Definite caramel and vanilla notes in the initial smell of the ale. The taste was the same way. Obviously a oak bourbon barrel aged ale. Where I found this beer somewhat lacking was in the mouthfeel. A bit too syrupy for my taste, but this might be what you would expect from a barrel aged ale. The single bottle serving was the perfect amount. Between the intense flavor, mouthfeel, and high alcohol content, one of these is all you need.

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Photo of daledeee
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a four pack of this on my recent excursion to the Wisconsin wonderland.

Poured a very dark nearly black body with a light tan head with some lacing

Nose is different. At first I would have called it pond water. As the beer sat out, it brought forward a sweet malty aroma. Vanilla also comes into the mix.

Taste and mouth feel were the two carrying factors for this beer. I enjoyed the sweetness and malt up front. As the beer goes down the throat it has a rather bitter finish. Also noticed some caramel and very little spice. Overall, this was quite nice. One of the best Scotch ales I have had. This one was way heavy not wee heavy due to alcohol. I don't think they are usually this strong!

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

Alcohol, some
malt bourbon, some cherry, masked

good carbonation, still cheery, very toasty almost charted, inside of barrel,

quick head white creamy lace, dark copper with deep red higlights

bourbon at front front, finished slighlty dry with warm bourbon tinge typical of bourbon alone.

Betty drinkable such a high alcohol beer

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 release (I believe), fridge-kept and poured at cellar temp into a Duvel tulip.

A gentle pour, to avoid disturbing the significant sediment, yields a dark-ruby glassful with a half-finger of dense white head, which quickly subsides to a ring around the edge of the glass. What little sediment made its way into the glass hovers just off the bottom, as a few tiny bubbles rise to the surface. Beautiful. 4.5

Unholy Hell, I can definitely tell how this was aged! A gigantic oaky, buttery blast of bourbon-barrels rolls in on the first sniff, bringing with it all that entails: raisins soaked in brandy, roasted nuts (hazelnuts, methinks), burnt sugar, maple, and hints of dried fruit, mainly cherries. Subtle smoky, charred aromas lurk in the background throughout. A big pumpernickel-like spiciness, from the rye in the bourbon or from the yeast, rolls in on the middle.The alcohol is surprisingly muted for the beer's 10.2% alcohol, mainly riding in at the end. Yeast aromas are prominent throughout, with that rich, spicy dark-bread dough smell mingling with the overall spiciness and fruitiness. 4.5

Oh, THERE'S the alcohol... This one is certainly going to be a sipper. Many of the appetizing aromas noted earlier are masked in the mouth by the prominence of the buttery charred-oak and sweet bourbon-barrel flavors. After the shock of the initial bourbon-ball-on-Stanozolol blast of boozy oak and burnt sugar, the nuts, raisins, and dark cherries slide in slowly, but the flavor remains VERY oak-forward. The smoke is relatively subtle, but as in the aroma it is always lurking in the background. The yeastiness mentioned earlier is also very prominent, maintaining a bready, peppery spiciness reminiscent of pumpernickel dough throughout each sip.

Backwoods Bastard is a "brootal" punch of bourbon-barrel oak at first, and this continues to dominate the flavors, but careful, SLOW sipping allows nuances to emerge. Now the hops I've been searching for for 20 minutes finally sneak in, bringing a ghostly bitterness that reveals itself most distinctly in the finish with a candied orange-peel flavor. Most of the bitterness seems to come from the oak and the malts; it's difficult to tell where those end and the hops begin, but it's a hell of a lot of fun trying. 4.0

Damn near dead-on for the style: rich and thick, with just enough carbonation to smooth the ride. I've never had Founder's regular Dirty Bastard, but if it's like this, but without oak and less alcohol, I imagine it's damn near quaffable...or maybe not. 4.0

Well, for a heavily oaked-and-charred, 10.2%, unfiltered Scotch ale, I suppose it's as drinkable as it can be. B.B. is pretty much the antithesis of a session beer, with it's palate-wrecking bourbon-and-oak flavors, sweetness, and high A.B.V., but for those extreme-beer lovers with patience and time to kill, it's plenty sippable. Take at least an hour and play "find the flavors in the oak," or, better yet, drink to accompany a good cigar. Skål! 3.5

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Photo of Chico1985
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Today after work I was originally going to review Red Stripe Jamaican Lager, but since I got laid off 5 minutes before leaving, I decided to break out something special. And oddly enough, the bottle date is 11/4/09, so this is exactly 1 year old. Coincidence?!?!?!

Pours dark blood red/brown, when held up to the light a boatload of floaties are revealed. Off-white head eventually becomes a slight cap leaving some lacing.

Big wood/oak in the scent, along with bourbon, sweet caramel, vanilla.

Huge bourbon taste with lots of nice flavors in the background. Wood, vanilla and caramel still prevail with notes of brown sugar, dark fruit and chocolate as well. Flavors are great and complex but bourbon reigns supreme, reminds me of drinking straight bourbon almost.

Much like the taste, the mouthfeel has lots of potential but it's just too boozy. Numbing to the tongue just like straight bourbon.

Even after a year, this is definitely a bourbon bomb, a huge beer. It's good but you can tell there's excellence buried underneath it all. I'd say this needs at least another year.

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4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip: 11.04.10 consumption of 09.30.10 batch.
A: Pours a vigorous two finger head. The head is a light tan color, which sits atop a deep amber body, that show almost the deepest of black hazy. The head settles to a island of round head in the middle of the glass. The lacing that is left from the retreating head and sipping, is thick.

S: The aroma is a high intensity of scotch and oak. The warm note of whiskey is also present. There is a deep and boozy character to this aroma. A bit at the end, is still balanced by a very rounded edge for the ABV.

T/M: The taste is a bit masked on the front by the overly creamy and full mouthfeel. The body shows to be a nice rendition for the style, while adding notes of oak at the very end. The sweetness of malts shows some caramel aspects. Notes of the 10.2% are very relaxed and do not get in the way of altering overall enjoyment. The finish is expressed with strong oak notes and adds a adds a cake batter finish.

D: This beer is overly flavorful and very drinkable for the style. Oak adds a nice and lingering finish that it is warm and is enjoyed best in cold weather. Great brew and will enjoy to see how this beer develops.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a deep brown with ruddy highlights and one finger of sudsy beige head. Nice lacing, woeful head retention.

Smell -- Bourbon, molasses, maple sugar, caramelized malt.

Taste -- Bourbon quite prominent up front with vanilla-like oak sugars, highly caramelized malts, molasses, and rum-soaked raisins. A modicum of herbal, minty hops toward the finish.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full body with mild carbonation. The alcohol is invisible, even with the barrel aging. Impressive.

Drinability -- Easily the mellowest barrel-aged beer that Founders puts out. However, it has the least going on. A tasty sipper, if a little one-sided. A Wee Heavy worth trying.

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Photo of cetherid
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip


A nice dark ruby color. about a fingers worth of offwhite head. A little opaque but when held up to the light, not too bad. A very beautiful looking beer.


Sweet caramelly malts with a little bourbon. Maybe a tiny hint of vanilla and oak. A very nice smelling beer.


whiskey with some very sweet flavors. Caramel, vanilla...almost butterscotch like. One of the best barrel aged beers I've had.


medium bodied. pretty good carbonation. a little syrupy mouth feel but goes down smooth and not too terribly sweet.


definitely a sipping beer. Incredible flavor, but I doubt I could have more than 1 at a time because of the alcohol and sweetness. The beer is a bit pricey so I don't know if I'd buy another 4 pack, but would definitely grab it on tap.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into a Celebrator glass, for a nice appearance. Pours with about a finger thick of tan head, the body is hazy and dark copper in color.

In the nose there is a cola aroma, caramel, and a slight amount of an herbal finish.

The taste is rich and complex with cherry, toffee/caramel, with a bourbon finish.

The brew is moderately carbonated, and has a smooth oily slickness with a very warm feeling in the end. This is a nice beer to have on a cold October's night.

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Photo of chaz01
3.15/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle that was in my cellar -- no date found on the bottle -- but I believe this was 1-2 years old. Poured into a Founders snifter/tulip glass.

A: Muddy dark brown, thin head recedes quickly.

S: Big notes of bourbon, alcohol and a little rum. That's pretty much all I smell.

T: Starts with a little alcohol and malty sweetness. Some dark fruity flavors mix in with just a bit of tartness. Beer finishes with a little sourness notes.

M: Medium to full bodied, some carbonation provides a tingly feeling in the mouth.

D: Overall a little disappointed -- not sure if the beer just doesn't age well, but the tart sour notes were a bit unpleasant and I would think unintentional.

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Photo of thetomG
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage...

Clearish brown pour. A bit of tan head.

Aroma and flavor are VERY heavy on the whiskey - a bit too much for my taste to be honest. This is one of the biggest bourbon bombs I've ever had - to the point where it tastes less like beer and more like liquor to me. Not bad, but not my favorite by any means.

It does have a very nice smooth mouthfeel, but overall not something I'm going to be seeking out again.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.79/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Catching up on some old reviews...

Pours with a nice deep amber color with floaties and decent carbonation. 1F head.

Surprisingly very little aroma, just a hint of caramel sweetness. Disappointed in this aspect.

Flavors of toffee-sweet malt, and some alchoholic aftertaste.

MF is the winner here... Incredibly smooth, with just a slight bite in the finish - Scottish!

High drinkability for the ABV, and just an overall really easy drinking Week Heavy.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into my Founders snifter. I got this as a generous extra from mikesgroove. Thanks! This bottle has an old guy playing a banjo so I believe this is an older bottle. I'm sharing this and some Dirty Bastard with my girlfriend. Interesting to see how the two compare.

A - Brown body with a circle of white head but not much head at all on top. The Backwoods is slightly darker than the Dirty. Not much difference in the two other than that.

S - Sweet bourbon notes dominate this one. Hints of vanilla also but mostly a smooth, sweet bourbon aroma.

T - Real smooth bourbon notes rest on top of a caramel/vanilla/nutty base. The bourbon i really highlighted in this. It is a real smooth bourbon flavor though.

M - medium body with a real light carbonation.

D - Similar to DB this is a sipper. However I enjoy this a lot more. This beer really highlights what a bourbon barrel can do. The bourbon notes are real smooth and delicious. I think when this comes out again I am going to do my best to grab several 4 packs of this.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Elijah for the bottle.

An agressive pour produced a minimal and fleeting head.

Brown body with amber hues, looks muddy almost. Dense, rich, syrupy looking body. Murky and unatractive, but appropriate.

Aromas of sweet boozy oak. Bourbon and toffee are prominant.

Rich, malty and sweet. Raisiny, figy, pruny fruit notes. Oak and bourbon on the finish. Starts sweet, but finishes dry.

Syrupy, full body with little carbonation.

More like a barleywine than anything else. Reminds me of the Jubel 2010 I just had. Not balanced, its rich and sweet flavors make this a beer thats best enjoyed in small doses, but is is quite enjoyable.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,777 ratings.
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