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: 8,074
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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Photo of weatherdog
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a John Smith snifter. Bottle dated 11/05/09. Tasted right after a lackluster Dirty Bastard

It pours a fairly low carbonated rustyish brown with a very tiny quick dying head. The beer shows a medium amount of cloudiness.

The nose automatically is the familiar smell of bourbon aging. Wood and vanilla. The beer is particularly smooth in the smell with a great restraint in the aroma that doesn't overpower the nose. It's really inviting and the alcohol is present but not overpowering or harsh, unlike in the lower alcohol Dirty Bastard previously.

SMOOTH, wow this beer is awesomely smooth and the barrel integrates really well. The taste starts off with a nice mellow vanilla and some bourbon. It ends with a mild smokiness as well that is nice and kind of parallels that bourbon taste to just a hint of the scotch.

The body is medium full and a medium amount of carbonation which was surprising considering the lifelessness of the pour. This is a nice sippable beer that shows some nice complexities in the bourbon flavor but isn't filling or harsh in the alcohol content. Overall I really love enjoyed beer which is almost a year old. I think I should try a fresh bottle and then pick up a few more for the cellar because at a year old, this seems like the perfect age.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Poured a brownish amber colored. Half finger tan head that has pour retention. Lots of streaky lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Nice upfront of caramel malts and some lighter darker fruits. Vanilla and oak come about in the middle of the nose with a hint of bourbon. There is a apple like presence as well. Wonderful smelling!

T- Lots of caramel malts upfront and lasts throughout the entire beer. Some light vanilla and darker fruits hint toward the middle. The vanilla lasts longer than the fruits and clash with a oaky bourbon flavor in the ending. A little muted when compared to the aroma.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is light for the beer although it works for the beer I think. Caramel malts and darker fruit left on the palate with bourbon and oak notes long into the aftertaste. Flavors were well put together and clean tasting. Alcohol is drying on the palate.

D- This is a nice sipping beer. The higher ABV limits this beer to a couple before moving onto something else. Founder's makes some damn good beers and I like this one like many others do.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

no date on bottle found. from notes, tasted in june 2009. poured into tulip glass.

dark brown w/ amber hue, ruby-like under the light. almost clear, but some micro particles floating about (decanted 1cm). 1-finger of yellow-tan head, fades to just wisps and creamy ring. it stays around, but the lacing is sparse and splotchy.

aroma: passionfruit and mango (?!), oaky vanilla and bourbony leather hints. brown sugar and caramel - very sweet smell. citrusy and grassy hops are subdued now, blending w/ fruit and malt notes. everything backs off after a while tho...

taste: malt and bourbon upfront, w/ wood and leather. resinous hops giving a moderate bitterness. troupical fruit still peeks through slightly. resinous and leathery/woody into the finish, lingering in the aftertaste.

medium body, almost syrupy, with astringency from the middle onwards. mild to moderate carbonation helps w/ body, almost creamy even, but doesn't lift away enough resins and tannins.


(NOTE: i enjoyed later batches better. re-reviews forthcoming)

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Photo of bs870621345
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to beernerd81 for this as a trade extra. I now love this man for this extra

Pours a deep amber with an off white head of about a half inch. Fades and leaves minimal lacing.

Smells of bourbon and oak right up front with a fruit sweetness in the background. It really only falls short of kbs in smell

Taste is of bourbon and oak, caramel sweetness and fruits. this stuff has really peaked.

Mouthfeel is full and sticky. Love the gentle prick of carbonation.

Drinkability is extremely high. I need more of these bottles as soon as these come out again.

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Photo of obireidkenobi
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle aged close to 10 months. Review will have a bit of a note comparison.

It's a barrel aged scotch ale. Malty beer that started fresh with a big malt/vanilla palate. Great fresh, here's near a year later.

Appearance - Of course the same, amber and clear.

Taste - Fresh- Caramel malt and vanilla. Both notable. Slight oak. Aged - malt tastes of a little age. Sweet caramel. Vanilla. Still very inviting, mucih like it was fresh.

Overall still really enjoy this beer.

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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 drumrboy22
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a McChouffe chalice. Beer was a dark brown/crimson color with a soft, one-finger light brown head. Light carbonation and little lacing.

Aroma was vanilla, bourbon, cherries, malt, caramel and raisins. Smells very sweet and inviting.

Taste was caramel, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Very good, but it's nearly flat and not as complex as the aroma suggests.

A tad hot, but I think this would be a good candidate for a year or two in the cellar. I'd be curious to see how it ages.

A slow sipper that should be allowed some time to warm up.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is poured from a dateless bottle (start dating your shit Founders) into a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and mostly clear. Forms a good one finger head of offwhite bubbles, tiny bubbles, that leaves a ton of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low but steady. Looks really good.

Aroma is strong caramel and bourbon, nicely boozy.

Beer is medium body, minimal carbonation on the palate. Pretty sweet, mildly dry, creamy mouthfeel, easy drinking. This is a very very good beer. Probably my favorite Scotch to date. Amazingly smooth and completely enjoyable start to finish. Thanks Dustin.

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Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Backwoods Bastard, to use the parlance of the South, looks like something the cat dragged in (if not worse). It looks like a mud fence daubed with tadpoles. It's flat, opaque and turbid with no exuberance or highlights what so ever. With my own fingers I've fished out clumps of sediment that looked like hot fudge, they were lumpy and rubbery like phlegm. Then again, I guess I'd look like shit too if I spent all those months in a barrel.

The aroma smells undeniably good but it's boozy enough to make me feel like the underside of a turnip green. This thing perspires bourbon and booze like a hooker sweats in church. It's a potent smell of spiced cherries, coffee, macerated prunes, chocolate, bitter tea leaves, truffles, toffee and burnt wood. That would all be fine if not for the intense concentration of raw bourbon. So far things are comin' up a bad cloud.

And I say that because I was hoping to drink a *beer*, not a bourbon. This has the vanillin, leather, tobacco leaf, charred oak and cinnamon spice flavours - all wonderful and intense and highly sophisticated flavours, but flavours belonging to the bourbon not the beer. All the sticky toffee pudding, nutty, caramelly and peaty malts and leafy hop flavours I love about Founders' Dirty Bastard are buried. It's definitely tasty but it's all a little too heady.

What's not helping is that the carbonation is slower than cream rising' on last years buttermilk. Plus the alcohol; I'm starting to worry I'll be staggering around like a blind horse in a pumpkin patch. It's musky, burnt, leathery mouthfeel leaves a savory, earthy, cigar box kind of aftertaste that is sophisticated but stiff. Because of its sweet flavours and thickness it's started to remind me of (fortified) vanilla and chocolate pudding.

As it warms, this thing get's hotter than a June bride and leaves your mouth dry enough to spin cotton. If there's one thing I hate about barrel aged beers it's having to pick wood splinters out of my teeth and that's exactly what I'm doing here. I can hardly taste the beer beyond all this burnt, tobacco leaf tasting oak. It's not acceptable in wine to show this much of the barrel or alcohol so what makes brewers think it's ok in beer?

Barrel aging is a lot like remixing a song - it leads to different, unique, interesting renditions. Sometimes, however, a song is just better left alone, especially if the remix distorts the original to a point of it being unrecognizable. In my opinion Founders has taken a great song - one of their greatest hits in fact - and gone and ruined it. Maybe (excessive) bourbon barrel aging isn't my thing - but hey, whatever blows your dress up.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to TCgoalie for this beer.

Pours woody deep brown amber with a diminutive light tan head. What little head there is fades fast, but leaves nice, although spotty lacing on the sides of the snifter. I discover as I hold this beer up to the light, that it is completely impenetrable. The aroma is quite alluring with plenty of bourbon and sweet toffee and brown sugar malt deliciousness. I also detect earthy hints from the wood as well as sweet vanilla. Bourbon and sweet malt are definitely the most prominent of the aromas, but all in all it has a well integrated nose. The flavor is not too in your face and very enjoyable. Wonderful bourbon notes mix with a heavenly malt backbone that is bursting with flavors of brown sugar, toffee and caramel. The barrel aging shines through much more in this beer than a lot of other examples, and I can taste the wonderful woody and earthy notes, as well as a surprising amount of vanilla. The mouthfeel is oh so smooth and on the fuller side of medium, with very low carbonation. The alcohol is fairly well hidden in this brew, and it goes down much easier that one would think. If it was not so delicious, I think I would be tempted to drink it too fast. Once again, Founders for the win.

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Photo of herman77
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark amber, dark chestnut color. Hardly any light gets through it, crazy for being this color! Small light brown head that dies off to collar quickly. Lots of small bubble lacing coating.

S: Malty and bourbon. Smells kind of like a highland single malt scotch, its got the sweet, floral, honey like scents. Tons of toffee malt and bourbon.

T: Tons of toffee malt with raisins, dates and vanilla. You can pick up the woody notes from the oak aging and obviously the bourbon is present. The bourbon influence is spot on, not to much, not too little. Drier, single malt like finish. Awesome.

M: Medium to fuller body with lower carbonation makes it feel very soft and slick.

D: Awesome drinkability considering its just over 10%+abv. Next to no sign of alcohol really. You can taste the bourbon, but its not "hot" at all. Goes down smooth for a big barrel aged scotch ale.
Another awesome beer Founders knocked out of the park!
I would like to try a a fresh bottle to compare. Bottled 11/16/09

Having a fresh one today (11-16-10) that was bottled on 10/8/10 and I can say that I like this one better with some age on it.

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Photo of Kendo
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a Duvel tulip. Body is brown, turning nearly cranberry-red when backlit. Interesting. No real head to speak of - a small khaki-colored film is about it, and it's gone quickly. Plenty of chunky sediment.

S: Whoa - boozy, big time. Scotch whiskey is definitely up front. Some vanilla too, but a waft of alcohol is there every time I stick my nose in the glass.

T: First impression: booze. Caramelized brown sugar and dark fruits, with oaky, bourbony vanilla noted as well. I'm not usually a big fan of this type of profile, but despite the in-your-face alcohol here, the overall dynamic works, as there is some balance between the booze, the sweetness and a drying finish. Alcohol heat is noted in the chest right away. Vanilla and sweetness all-around become more noted as it warms, but with every sip you get that boozy heat down the gulley.

M: Medium+ in heft, good, fine carbonation tickles the tongue nicely. Bigger bubbles would've made this a more harsh experience.

D: Not bad for what it is - a sipper more akin in many ways to a mild whiskey than a beer.

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

Thanks to Adam for sharing this brew.

A: The beer has a brown transparent appearance, with tinges of crimson. There is a small head and a touch of lacing.

S: Scents include sweet malts, toffee, oak, and bourbon.

T: The beer packs some flavor. The initial taste brings oak and bourbon flavors, followed by a malty sweetness and peat from the scotch ale lurking beneath the wood and booze.

M: The feel is moderately thin, with a slight alcohol burn in the finish.

D: Drinkability is somewhat limited, as the strength and sweetness make this a slow sipper.

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Photo of dieBierStube
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had my share of bourbon barrel conditioned beers, but none of them exactly lived up to my expectations. In light of this, tasting this beer was practically an epiphany. I really can't imagine how this beer could be improved. The balance, the mouth feel, the pour, all for me at the absolute peak of perfection. I only wish I had another!

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Bruery tulip. Served at approximately 50 degrees. Sick extra from Kelly88.

Heavy handed pour produces a finger of off white head with mostly tiny bubbles tight concentration and bigger bubbles on the top. Dark ruby color bordering on brown. Can't see through this one, no light getting through. Initial head dies down to a bubbly layer of foam around the edge and a slim layer of foam on the surface. Some oily legs, but not oily enough to pull spots of lacing back into the beer.

Smells is of oaky vanilla, boozy bourbon, raisins, figs, and sweet caramel malts. Nutty/fruity bourbon notes reveal themselves with some agitation as the brew warms. Comparisons to a bourbon barrel aged old ale would make sense based on the nose. Very enticing.

Taste is comprised of boozy bourbon up front that melts into oaky vanilla which quickly transforms into toasted caramel malts that end on a boozy nutty bourbon note with a resin/leafy hop bitterness. Bitter nutty flavor lingers on the palate.

High end of medium bodied, flavors aren't super rich which is one of my only complaints with this beer. Low carbonation. A bit coating, but not to syrupy/thick. Slightly hot on the way down.

I could definitely knock back a few of these without being overwhelmed or getting sick of it.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I reviewed the wrong beer here the first time (go see Dirty Bastard for that review). However, did get the proper beer here today after positive reviews on NBS. so here goes.
After an initial malty whiff a strong vanilla comes forth. Not boozy or woody at all. Kinda' sweet.
Nice dense head. Dripping lacing. Body is pretty dark with brown more than red.
Flavor is more complex, but still with the strong vanilla. Very drying too on a very long finish (man this is lasting forever). After it warms and opens there is more balance and a better balance, however, it's still towards vanilla and less bourbon. Slightly woody. Gets more boozy as it warms.
A tad on the thin side for style. Moderate carbonation - I'd like it a little flatter (that's just me).
I like it but not much beyond that.

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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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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,074 ratings.
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