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: 1,813 | Ratings: 7,985
Photo of JackieTH
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pours a dark ruby/amber color...kinda like red hardwood floors with a nice white head with a hint of rusty coloring. Once putting my nose up to the glass I get struck in the face with bourbon and vanilla flavors. Very strong alcohol scent with some sweet malts. Love that bourbon smell!!! Wow, this taste is like nothing I've ever had before. On first sip I immediately taste a sweet marshmallow taste, followed by sweet bourbon whiskey and oak flavors. Sooo tasty! Man, this beer is so sweet, but not too sweet at all. The bourbon blends perfectly with the sweet malts and vanilla (also a bit of maple) to make a deliciously perfect beer for a dessert. The mouthfeel is very nice, but maybe a bit syrupy. Still good though. Drinkability is scary-good for how hight the abv is. Outstanding beer!

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

12oz. bottle into a snifter. bottled on 11/05/09.

looks like an unpolished jewel in the glass with just a bit of light catching the nearly opaque, deep chestnut color. head is thin and dissipates quickly, but i'll forgive that a little considering the high alcohol content.

smells of oak, bourbon, maple syrup and booze.

taste is far more mellow than i was expecting. lots of carmel malt, with notes of oak and vanilla. a nice balance of hop character comes in and fades to a slight alcohol spiciness. i'm kind of surprised at how well the flavors blend together here.

body is lighter than i expected and exceptionally smooth.

this is one superbly crafted beer. dangerously drinkable and perfect for a cool michigan night. 9 month old bottle and doing just fine.

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Photo of boomer31
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revised review 11/18/10 (original 6/6/10 - 4, 4.5, 4.5, 4, 4.5)

A - Deep rich brown with tan sticky head

S - Sweet bourbon through and through. Maybe a touch of smokiness from the base beer but mostly bourbon here

T - Bourbon up front with some sweet molasses in the back. As it warms up I get some wood and vanilla sweetness after it goes down. This is a good barrel aged beer. Second time around I'm getting more sugary notes especially in the back. Also more smoke and dark fruit.

M - Rich and nice carbonation. I think the mouthfeel hits the wee heavy right on the nose.

D - Lots of bourbon but no alcohol flavor here.

I've had this a couple times and finally got around to review it. Very very nice overall...does Founders do anything wrong when barrel aging?

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Photo of jhoban19
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: deep reddish-brown, hazy with light brown head. Foam settles rather quickly but leaves a strong amount of lacing that holds strong all around the glass.

S: Backwoods Bastard has initial aromas of molasses. As it warms strong aromas of caramel, vanilla and bourbon come forward. Further warming reveals some dark fruit, cherries I think, and some very subtle roasted and chocolate malt.

T: Flavors are heavy on the caramel, bourbon and cherries. Subtle hints of vanilla and molasses linger in the aftertaste. As I approach the bottom of the glass, a mild bitterness from the roasted malts swirl around the back of the tongue.

M: Medium bodied and syrupy with a long, lingering finish that has just the right amount of sweetness and carbonation. That sweet finish is followed up with a snap of boozy dryness and a gentle tingle / numbness that I associate with a good scotch.

D: I've done this a little bit backwards- I haven't yet had Dirty Bastard to compare with its barrel-aged brother. On its own I'm really enjoying this brew. The combination of flavors and finish are just right. The 10.2% is definitely noticeable but not overly hot. I think it would be even better with some grilled pork in a rich mushroom sauce- perhaps next time.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.91/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to htomsirveaux for sending me a few of these. I crushed them immediately!

A - Pours a beautiful ruby-mahogany hue, some small spotty lacing, a recurring patchy cap of tan froth.

S - Great barrel aroma, lots of well-placed vanilla notes, a wee bit of chocolate, rich toffee-malt; beyond superlative.

T - I am not even a malt-bomb or Wee-Heavy fan, but this stuff is amazing. Founders is ridiculous. Great and huge flavors of barrel, toffee, vanilla, booze and a small bit of smokiness to round it out. Again, mere words do not suffice...

M - Great creamy mouthfeel, nice soft effervescence; totally complementary.

D - Understatement of the year: "Founders is amazing!" JFC. Off the hook. This might be my favorite of all the Founders brews (though Nemesis is totally insane, so...)

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown color with a finger of head. Not much lacing, but the head rises up again with a swirt.

The aroma is thick with caramel malts, oak, sweet raisin, vanilla, and toffee. Mesmerizing, really.

The flavor is very oak forward. Lots of raisin and malty sweetness. A bit of boozy heat in the finish. Vanilla flavor is also quite evident. The flavors here are amazing, but there is a bit of a plastic element that prevents me from giving higher than a 4 for the taste.

The body is on the full side of medium. Not quite as big as I would like a wee heavy to be, but quite nice still.

Overall this is simply a fantastic beer and one that I will seek out every year when it is released. I have had a sample before this bottle that I thought was mind blowing, so I'm not sure if the plastic is just due to having an off-bottle or what. Perhaps I just didn't detect it before. Either way, it still tastes great.

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Photo of fropones
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a nice reddish brown with too much yeast suspended in it. Minimal head.

S - Bourbon. Lots of bourbon. Caramel and vanilla.

T - Sweet, bourbon notes, a bit of heat in the back. Caramel, vanilla and oak. A bit simple.

M - Medium bodied, low carb.

D - Fairly drinkable. Alcohol is fairly apparent. I had one of these a while ago when I first bought the fourpack and this was not as good as I remember, unfortunately.

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip 06/06/10. Been looking forward to this one for awhile. Allowed to warm slightly before pouring and a little more before tasting.

Forms a large and fairly well retained light tan head. Dense dark brown body shows some garnet and surprisingly high amount of suspended sediment throughout.

Strong notes of vanilla, oak, and toffee. Slightly sweeter and a lot more dessert-like than I usually get in the style but still very nice.

Oak and vanilla Bourbon flavors remain a big part of the show but are very well integrated with the rest of the beer. More toffee and a subtle hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

There's a very slight heat here which is enough to remind one this is a big beer but overall it's still pretty easy drinking. The suspended sediment didn't cause any problems on the mouthfeel although I wish this was just a little more viscous.

A very nice beer but as good as it was it's still probably not among my favorites from this brewer. Founders continues to climb the ranks of my favorite breweries.

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

Presentation: Thanks go out to fellow Beer Geek DoctorDog for providing this one; quite some time ago. Label depicts a bearded old man carrying a double headed axe over his shoulder. no clear freshness date, but at 10.2%, I don't think it will be an issue. Poured into a small tulip.

Appearance: Pours with 3/4 finger of medium tan head. This settles to a thin ring around the glass and a few islands of foam here and there. The beer itself is a deep, rich mahogany, dark enough that you can't see through it.

Smell: Sweet, caramel malt upfront with an underlying graininess. Hazelnut and a slight sourness in the finish.

Taste: Slightly sweet caramel malt upfront with a subtle undertone of milk chocolate. Strong overtones of your typical oak flavors; specifically vanilla and cherries. Mild yet lingering bourbon flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly higher than average carbonation; enough to tickle the throat. Body is decent.

Drinkability: Another bourbon beer from the recent barrel aged craze. Good, and complex in flavor. But not a favorite.

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

Pours garnet with a nice tan head.

Lots of bourbon in the sose, followed by vanilla, figs, some chocolate, and... Twizzlers.

The taste is a tad more gentle on the bourbon with the cherry Twizzler-like taste soothing the fire, but the vanilla leads the show with the bourbon catching up in the end.

This is nice and chewy in the mouth with some burn in the finish.

I really like the complexity of this beer. Too bad I didn't pick up more when I was able. I wouls have liked to age a few.

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Photo of beeragent
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A - Poured a dark copper, forming a very thin tan head with light spots of lace.

S - Strong malty aroma with noticeable notes of oak and alcohol throughout.

T - The sweet malts coat the palate first, followed by the oak flavor coming through after the swallow. There is a slight alcohol burn in the finish. Awesome full flavor!

M - Heavy bodied with low carbonation. Taste lingers on the palate and very smooth.

D - Great flavor, aroma, and body! Whats not to like about this beer? The oak flavor from the barrel comes through nicely on this one, and is not too overpowering. The only drawback, which really isnt one, is the higher abv prevents this from being a sessionable ale.

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

the pour is dark brown like a wee heavy should be with a little head and a tan ring with minimal lacing..the smell is caramel and burnt toffee with a big bourbon boozy smell vanilla bean and cream smell..whoa !! the taste is boozy bourbon first so much so i dont taste the toffee and biscuit and caramel of a wee heavy..this is just a bourbon hit first with a whiskey/alcohol taste..just not my thing..the mouth fell is booze first with some caramel and toffee ..i dont know this brew is just not 4 low score on drink this beer brewed well for the style ..oh yeah because as it warms it does mellow out... i just cant give it high grades for me IMO i will not buy it again. i just feel like im drinking booze instead of a fine craft brew IMO.. but will recommend it to scotch ale lovers with high bourbon notes if thats your likes

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

From notes - 5/6/10.

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a very dark brown that light up with red when held to light. Two fingers of light beige head. Lacing develops immediately.

S: Maple syrup, light bourbon, and cream. This is one of the more unique beers I've smelled. Biscuits and breadiness here, with some very sweet malts - smells almost like pancakes with some type of bourbon butter.

T: Oak, vanilla, sweet malt, and bourbon. Pretty much tastes just like it smells. Very warming and filling.

M: Creamy with lightly above average body. Moderate carbonation. Nice lingering, warming bourbon finish.

D: Quite boozy. Couldn't have more than 1 or 2. Nice filling after dinner beer though.

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Photo of BetterDarker
4.66/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter

A: Deep reddish brown, very thin off white head which quickly dissipated.

S: Right up front, the aroma is inviting. Clearly bourbon, but not overpowering at all. Hints of vanilla, some hops. So far so great, looks and smells fantastic!

T: I was surprised in my initial taste. I immediately thought of Nemesis, which is odd as BB is classified as a Scotch Ale aged in bourbon and Nemesis is a wheatwine. Not surprisingly, I think BB is a great tasting brew. Vanilla, bourbon, oak with no alcohol taste. Very tasty and quite smooth.

M: Smooth and creamy, on the thick side.

D: Dangerous. While the complex flavors and aroma beg to be savored, it's so damn tasty and smooth it goes down rather quickly. Could drink a four pack of this easily, except I can't afford that, both in the wallet and gut.

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Photo of FishGetter
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An attractive brown apperance, much like a dark tea. Small sediment swims around glass from a complete pour. Thin head fades quickly to a scabby head.
Nice mellow burbon aroma with trails of toasted oak barrel. Great buttery burbon aroma, not too overpowering.
Smooth mellow burbon flavors. Great to see time in barrels was not overdone. Sweet toasted maltiness blends with buttry notes from the burbon. Very mild hop bitterness adds to the complexity of brew. Burbon flavor hangs around throughout drink with a touch of liquor at finish.
Big thick mouthfeel that is very plesant as it rolls around mouth. Oak dryness lingers in mouth after drink.
Although flavors from barrel aging are the dominate charecter, Founders did a grat job on blending a quality ale foundation. One of the best barrel aged offerings available.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Capone's on draft and really enjoyed. Grabbed a bottle from Matt in his bottle shop for later,
Enjoyed in my Magic Chouffe snifter, and "wow" what pleasure when controlled for temperature and glass.Full flavors of bourbon and wood, vanilla and that soft fullness that comes from excellent aging. The alcohol is only evident in it's creep; nothing that impacts the drink enjoyment. I am a rabib double imperial stout boy, who unabashedly loves Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. But this is a wonderful drinking experience that needs to explored again and again.

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

Pours from the bottle a deep, rich mahogany color, with a nice cap of light brown foam, which rather quickly settles in along the side of the glass, leaving only random bubbles upon the surface. Aromas of bourbon, dark brown sugar, caramel, toffee and vanilla. On the palate, this beer is absolutely delicious, with more great bourbon flavor, toasted malt, caramel and a little bit of milk chocolate. The bourbon here is integrated so well, and the 10% alcohol is barely noticeable. Another incredible effort from Founders.

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Photo of levifunk
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

tasted side by side with Dirty Bastard (DB)

appearance - dark, red, nutty haze. good carbonation.

smell - caramel/vanilla and bourbon. booze smell isn't as strong as DB

taste - very smooth, far less boozy and bitter than DB. caramel and vanilla sweetness balanced well with the bourbon flavor. Higher ABV than DB, but booze flavor is very well masked.

mouth - medium to heavy body. carbonation slightly less than DB.

overall - phenomenal beer. DB is good, but this blows it away. i could drink this every day.

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Photo of TK5150
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mixed review of the 2009 and 2011 vintages.

A-Dark brown with a beige head. When held up to the light is a nice dark amber.

S- Sweet bourbon, big vanilla, toasty oaky notes, caramel. Great.

T- Sweet bourbon, vanilla, toasted oak, lingering caramel sweetness. One of the best caramel flavors I've had in a beer actually. Somewhat watery at the finish though. Dry lingering effect long after the swallow.

M- Medium bodied (2009), somewhat fiull bodied (2011).

D- Dangerously drinkable and one of the two best scotch ales I've ever had (the other was also barrel aged).

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

12 oz poured to tulip

A: Dark brown, minimal head and lacing. Lots of little bubbles rising from bottom of glass.

S: Smells like sweet booze with hints of oak/vanilla.

T: Sweet, malty, with some caramel or toffee, dark fruit. The oak gives nice hints of underlying vanilla.

M: nice medium/full bodied beer. Pretty carbonated.

D: Shockingly smooth and drinkable for 10.2%. Obviously you could have a few of these and they would sneak up on you. I think this one is another winner from Founders.

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Photo of wxjunkie
3.48/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Backwoods Bastard

Appearance: Mahogany with a light creamy head

Nose: brown sugar first, then a little bourbon. Both aromas are tough, too, they have some bite and after you smell this beer you'll be a little better prepared for what's next ...

Taste was carbonated for sure, but all that aging in oak barrels hits you quick and the 10% ABV is obvious right away.

Palette: Again, carbonated and quite heavy.

Drinkability: Do you like heavy? Do you like bourbon? This is a good beer for you then. At more than $5 a bottle in Louisville, I will buy a bottle every now and then for an in-your-face bourbon beer experience, but I doubt I'd ever order a second.

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

pours a dark cola color with a light creamy head that dissipates quickly. good lacing down pint glass

wow, love the smells that attack the nose! sweet brown sugar, molasses, vanilla & bourbon

starts off caramel, brown sugar & lots of bourbon. the malts go away quickly leaving only the oak, bourbon and strong alcohol taste behind

medium/full body that is slighty heavy. the carbonation is quite noticeable

I don't know if it is very drinkable to the average joe but I happen to love bourbon so its right up my alley. the 10% abv & bourbon barreled aged can really cause this one to sneak up on ya! definitely worth the experience.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh Growler from Fatheads

A-pours a slightly hazy sunset red color, hues of orange shining through. The head is a light tan color, tight, about one finger with some retention and a little lace.

S-notes of bourbon right up front, light hints of oak and vanilla in the middle, dark fruity sweetness in the back. Plums, figs, and rum soaked raisins.

T-the taste has a lot of great components that work really well together, it isn't huge but it is extremely well done. The bourbon is faint and the oak and vanilla are more pronounced. Hints of chocolate at first, toffee and caramel take over. The vanilla oakiness and hints of bourbon are in the middle with some sweeter dark fruits in the back. Ripe plum is quite nice with notes of slightly rum soaked raisins. The finish actually adds a touch of herbal hoppiness and a hint of bitterness to throw even more complexity but not over-doing anything, it works so well!

M-medium body and extremely smooth; but the carbonation is just a little light. The soft smooth feeling on the palate is enticing, it coats the mouth completely and again very softly. The finish is a little bit thin, not quite enough carbonation taking away slightly from the overall feel of the beer; but the smooth, syrupy, soft texture is quite nice.

D-this is actually insanely drinkable for a 10%+ beer. The alcohol is so well hidden, slightly warm at the very back but not at all detracting from the beer, just letting you knoww this is a beast. The complexity is a beautiful blend or flavors that work well together and transition so nicely. Glad I have a whole growler for the evening!

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

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for this great brew!

12oz stub into a snifter glass

A- Pours a dark cloudy reddish brown with a thin off white head that's barely there.

S- Strong bourbon smell hits the nose first, following lingering oak/wood notes. Sweet malts and caramel are also apparent.

T- Creamy caramel malts compliment a strong bourbon and vanilla wood flavor that I really love. For being such a high ABV beer the alcohol is hidden very well! Big fan of that

M- Smooth medium body, with lower carbonation and little bitterness in the finish. A real easy drinker.


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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,985 ratings.
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