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: 1,814 | Ratings: 7,989
Photo of Mdog
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cloudy red-brown, small but dense head.

Smell: Dark fruit, then bourbon-boozy, oak, vanilla.

Taste: Brown sugar sweetness, then the bourbon comes along without being overpowering. Nice vanilla and oak flavors.

Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable, doesn't seem as strong as it is.

I didn't get a lot of peat or smokiness in this beer so it seems to be more of a straight "strong ale" than a scotch ale, but it is tasty none the less. Nice bourbon flavors without dominating the beer. Good stuff!

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.71/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Backwoods Bastard poured dark brown with a hint of red, a nice two-finger head that left a moderate but nice amount of lace.

This was a difficult review. I couldn't finish my first bottle and wondered how I could possibly choke down the rest of the relatively expensive four-pack. The next day, I gave it another try and enjoyed it much more. The trick is you must know what you're getting. This is like a very smooth and creamy whiskey and, as such, must be sipped slowly. The smell and taste are boozy, with hints of very sweet cherry vanilla. The sweet flavor lingers at the finish and is a little too artificial and over-powering. The feel is creamy and it's very drinkable if enjoyed for what it is.

Founders Backwoods Bastard is not as good as good scotch ale, because it's too boozy, and it's not as good as good scotch whiskey if you want to sit back and sip, because it's too thick; but it is a nice creamy after-dinner experience if you have someone with whom to share a 12-ounce bottle.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful deep brown with minimal head, has the appearance of an ale aged in oak. Perhaps the oak contributed to some of the dark color here. Swirling the glass provides a small amount of carbonation and the head appears a tan, mocha cappucino froth color. The aroma coming off this beer is delightful, full of dried fruits, huge oak presence and a big hint of booziness. Nice caramel and toffee aromas as well. Malty beast here I suppose. Absolutely delicious, oak and caramel right up front. Alcohol carries the flavor across the tongue. Super rich and malty, the oak is wonderful in this beer...more than I've ever realized in another oak aged beer. Never got a deep wood taste from any other beer before this. Pairs so well with the toffee and burnt sugar flavors. Vanilla is a huge flavor going on here too, each sip is wondrous. Huge and syrupy mouthfeel, great aged Scotch ale. Hope I can find more of this in large quantities. A bit too heavy to be easily drinkable, only cracked this one out because Philly got hit with a wicked snowstorm tonight. Great beer!

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Photo of MaltyHoppyGood
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark copper with red hues. Not much head. Really deep color, like a light barleywine. Nice crusty lacing as the beer disappears from the pint.

S: Complex. First thing I noticed was bourbon whiskey. Then scents of vanilla, spice and thick and tangy malt.

T: Much like the smells. The alcohol is magically hidden in this one. Magic I say. It has such a nice bourbon character with the depth and body of big scotch ale. All the flavors meld harmoniously. Doesn't take long to drink one, surprisingly. The glass continues to smell wonderful even as the beer nears the end of the pint.

M: Round, sweet, but not too sweet. Extremely well balanced for the style and abv. Really happy to have been able to try this. Carbonation was low, just right for the style.

D: I enjoyed my first one. I like to switch it up from pint to pint. Might have another one after I finish this Oatmeal Stout. Might not. Could go either way really. An easy drinker though. Better to appreciate this type.

Overall: This is genius really... You take a scotch style and age it in bourbon barrels? Two Scottish specialties in one mouthwatering drink. Makes me giggle, just how smooth the bourbon is with the beer. Maybe I will have that second one.

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Photo of samie85
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a rich colored auburn brown with a light tan, one finger head. I don't normally figure in the bottle's appearance, but I love the label on this one.

S- I'm getting a lot of oak and vanilla with some rich bourbon and some mild, sweet alcohol. I also get some dark fruit notes. It reminds me of GI's Imperial Brown Goose.

T-It follows the nose with vanilla, oak and bourbon with some caramel. Nothing is standing out, it's really nicely balanced. A little alcohol on the finish.

M- Really smooth and creamy with low carbonation. It's medium bodied with some warm alcohol in the throat.

D-Wow, this beer is really mellow for being 10%+. That being said, it's still definitely a sipper.

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Photo of ManVersusBeer
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wee 12 oz. bottle pours a reddish brown color; copper could be how some might describe it. A big, bold, light, light brown head comes up and lasts leaving a sticky lacing around the glass. This beer smells sweet and heavenly. There is honey and caramel covered fresh cherries and smoky firewood. Smells like sitting by the camp fire sipping on a flask of Jack Daniels.
Tastes strong and powerful. A manly flavor of dark malt and caramel tones with some vanilla oak and tea-like herb honey accents. Definitely get that bourbon flavor and comes in a bit sticky although not overpowering.
There is a smooth feeling going down the mouth, a little spicy, but not like the heat of an alcohol burn. Ends a bit syrupy with me smacking my lips in overall satisfaction. If I was hiking, though, I can assure you I would not want to run into the Backwoods Bastard--as he looks scary--but I would drink his beer again.

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Photo of machostacos
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First time I've tried the Backwoods Bastard; poured from a chilled bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark, rich amber with a small tannish-beige head that disappears quickly, leaving a thin layer with a little collar that sticks around. Not much lacing.

S: Rich woody vanilla, some caramel, sweet with a nice kick of smokey bourbon, followed by a wisp of dark cherry. The bourbon is definitely featured, but is not so prominent to overpower the more delicate notes. The alcohol is noticeable, but only just.

T: Very full. Foremost was the oaky vanilla and caramel sweetness of the malts, followed immediately by the bourbon. Definitely wakes up the tastebuds. The sweet smokiness stays with you, lightly penetrated by a citrusy bitterness that I could savor all night. Finishes long and slow, bitter but not too bitter, smokey but not too smokey. Absolutely delightful.

M: So rich, creamy, and thick - I was in heaven. Did not expect that at all.

D: I could easily drink 2 or 3 of these, but with the 10.2% ABV, 1 is certainly enough. Absolutely perfect on a winter evening - warms you right up.

This is my second attempt at a bourbon beer - I'm not much of a whiskey drinker so I was a little skeptical, but boy am I glad I tried the Backwoods Bastard. An absolutely fantastic beer. I'll definitely be buying more of these.

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

Poured from a chilled 12oz bottle into a snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a nice deep amber/brown with a small off white head which faded fairly quickly but really stuck to the glass. Smelled of vanilla, warming bourbon, and plenty of sweet caramel malt with a feint oaky scent. Great strong, complex, warming scent.

Taste and Mouthfeel:Tasted of extremely sweet vanilla, and some burned cane sugar. Definitely some caramel malt noticed throughout. The bourbon is definitely present in this but doesn't warm the tongue like it does the nose. Not a whole lot of hop presence to this thick, sticky brew.

Drinkability:I really enjoyed drinking this. I'll probably pick up another 4-pack before it goes out of season. This is a great cold weather brew. Really a pleasant improvement to it's predecessor Dirty Bastard, definitely worthy of a seperate seasonal release.

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Photo of Maction
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A:  Keep this away from children!  It looks exactlty like cola - transparent brown with big clinging bubbles and a tan head that quickly dies. 

S: Sweet bourbon and soda with a twist of lemon, and a little creamy as well.

T: Bourbon and raw sugar, unsweetened cocoa, earthy spice at on the finish.  Really nice and balanced.

M: Mouthfeel is medium/heavy but very clean and not heavy or clingy.

D: It goes down easy, very easy, too easy?  

Notes: Reminds me of the time when I found an old bottle of Double Crooked Tree and poured in a shot of rye to cover the dead hops. 

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

pour is deep black with a light creamy head, decent retention and even some lacing.

mainly vanilla and bourbon. slightly sweet with a light candy cherry scent.

lots of vanilla and bourbon and a slight hint of oak. well blended with sweet malts and some citrus hops coming through. not so much complex but so smooth that this works very well.

a fairly full body with a light carbonation. a bit chewy but nothing drastic

i am shocked this is a 10.20% ABV. I could down this glass with no issues and pop another bottle which would lead me to sleeping on the floor. this is one hell of a bourbon beer. works quite well fresh, cannot wait to see what some age does.

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Photo of techfed87
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a very nice head to it, light in color, but with a very tempting scent to it. Is very slow to dissipate. Scent is very malty, with hints of bourbon.

Taste is much sweeter than I thought it would be. It's kind of an oatmeal with brown sugar kind of sweet. Big mouthful, very malty, a very light, tight flavor. Coming into this, I was expecting something bitter, but it's anything but.

The taste is very light, not to say that it doesn't have body to it, but in the sense that the flavor is quick to disappear once you've done drinking. And with it being a solid 10.2% ABV, this can get you into trouble. This does not taste like a 10% beer.

For only being a seasonal release, I would like nothing more than to see this be available more often. It's just excellent. My only complaint may be that the flavors that I would have expected from the aging in bourbon barrels was not there. Instead, there was something unique to the beer that I like immensley.

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

On-tap at Flying Saucer served alongside Slappy Sappy Bastard on 12/10/09 and reviewed from notes. The beer was served in a tulip glass a murky brown with a decent khaki head that diminished to a thin layer. The aroma is Bourbon in front of dark malts, burnt caramel and slight dark fruits. The taste is dark malts, dried fruits, bourbon and vanilla. The beer is slightly heavy with a decent alcohol presence, but an enjoyable sipper. This is a very enjoyable beer, I'm looking forward to opening a one year old bottle I've been holding.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from a friend, '09 release...

A: Dark like a black iced coffee. Small white head that dissapates quickly

S: Smells almost like walnuts. Must be the smell of the oak bourbon. Small hints of hard liquor.

T: Hints of walnuts with a strong taste of coconut. I'm not a huge fan of coconut, so that's why I gave this one a 4. It's good, but too much coconut for me.

M: Fantastic amount of carbonation. Not too heavy, but not too light.

D: Goes down very easy. Just have to get past the coconut flavor on this to get it down.

All in all, if you like roasted nuts and coconut, then this is your brew. I love walnuts, but don't like coconuts, so this one is good for me, but not great. You might think otherwise.

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Photo of sprucetip
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark mahogany with ruby highlights when backlit, clear, very active, 1 finger tan head, modest retention, spotty lacing.

SMELL Lightly smoky, oak, malty sweet, boozy, balanced mostly but with bourbony heat coming on strong late. Has legs.

TASTE malty sweeta, peaty, dark fruity, only mildly boozy compared to nose. Mild bitterness in the finish. Smooth, balanced and complex.

FEEL Brief acloholic bite then creamy, thick, rich, full and viscous.

OVERALL pretty easy drinking big beer. Alc not really so evident other than the nose.

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Photo of cokes
3.38/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark crimson colored with a tight beige lace that leaves larges bubbles as it relocates to the rim of the glass.
Earthy malts with brown sugar and liquorice, given the full barrel treatment. Tons of oak, with butter and vanilla, and a loud black cherry accent. And a lot of flagrant booze as well. There's a bit of wavering dill aroma that I sometimes pick up in barreled brews. Chilled, it comes out, but fortunately fades as it warms.
It begins caramelly, with some danker notions of peat and dirt. The barrel hits almost immediately, stripping the malt of its girth, and showcasing the oaky tannins- with vague vanillins and buttered toast- and mentholated black cherries. It fades around the swallow, as the booziness takes hold adding flame and a vapid overstrong fruity dark rum drink notion.
It begins gripping and full bodied, but sheds weight throughout the sip, ending on the vacant and flaccid side, despite its obvious alcoholic heft.
The malt profile seems to be going through the motions, and for this to succeed, it needs to carry the beer. As such, it is too reliant on the barrelled traits. Here, they seem unattached and over-imposed. The beer needs to catch up with the Bourbon, not be simply an afterthought.
If you simply want boozy and barrel-aged, look no further. Forget finesse.
Personally, I want to be able to identfy the Scotch Ale traits underneath it all. And this doesn't allow me to do that.

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Photo of caresville
3.54/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a deep dark chestnut brown with an almost non existant beige head.

S- smells like a pretty decent single malt scotch, with clove, cinnamon and some smokiness coming through.

T&M- consistenly while sipping this, i think of a watered down scotch with an oaky, smokey, black licorice taste.

D- well it seems very good to sip one or two or these but i cant imagine drinking anymore than that for that fact it actually makes my mouth and tongue water. as in i need to be replenished with water. not bad by any means, but most certainly not a session beer. good for sipping and makes me all tingly on the inside.

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

Poured from the stubby bottle into a standard pint.

Deep mahogony, with slivers of red and orange when the light shines through. Just a bit of thin head at the pour, but hardly any retention, save the whispy ring around the top. Very little lacing to follow.

Great on the nose - hints of dark fruits, vanilla, burnt sugar, and a bit of alcohol are prevalent. It's kind of like barleywine-lite.

That's tasty, and not for the meek of mouth. Heavy dark fruits, lots of vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and a touch of smokiness are the highlights, but somebody else could probably list another 20 flavors - it seems like one of those beers that everybody would find something different. The only negative is that the alcohol is apparent.

Good in the mouth - sweet and settles on the tongue with just a bit of spice to close.

Highly drinkable, if only for enjoying after a big dinner - great to warm the insides on a cold winter day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On tap at the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee.

Served in a nondescript snifter. Pours a deep mahogany color, developing a half inch thick, tan colored head, that doesn't so much dissipate as it does form a dense creamy mat on top of the beer, leaving dollops of suds on the glass as the beer recedes.

The aroma is full of an earthy oakiness and vanilla notes as well as a brown sugar character with a touch of tobacco, very much like a fine bourbon. No smokiness to speak of....which is NICE!

The flavor is intense, this is a sipper for sure. First you got your standard Scotch Ale malt forward profile of toasted grains, brown sugars and caramel, but then the barrel aged flavors really make their presence known, assaulting the taste buds with a pungent earthiness, leaving quite a boozy impression. The finish has a great dryness to it, though that doesn't ruin the amazing malt and bourbon flavors, but rather only serves to balance the overall sweetness.

I could think of nothing better, then to sit in front of a warm fireplace on a cold winter's eve sipping a snifter of this beer. And when I drink Backwoods Bastard, that is the scene that instantly comes to mind. A great after dinner drink, with a great amount of complexity. A rich creamy body, and very mild amount of carbonation really improves the overall drinkability despite the high ABV.

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Photo of drtth
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a clear light reddish brown with a 1/3" off-white head that quickly recedes to a smallish ring of foam and a thin patch of foam on the liquid. Sipping leaves some small patches of lacing and areas of sparse speckled lacing. For most of the beer there is some scattered lacing.

Smell: The aroma fills the nose with bourbon, vanilla and a trace of oak. This mixture is accented by light caramel, some cocoa and a dash of tart cherry.

Taste: The flavor is a complex mix of caramel and brown sugar mingled with the vanilla from the barrel, the taste of bourbon, some oakiness and a trace of alcohol. In the background and quite persistent trough out is a citric bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied, smooth and creamy with the medium to light carbonation. The finish is long with the caramel malt sweetness leaving the scene first leaving the wood and bourbon flavors behind to slowly disappear into dry citric final bitterness.

Drinkability: This beer goes down smoothly a sip at a time, with each sip leaving me wanting another. I won't hesitate to have this one again. And am already thinking that it would be a fine beer to serve as a digestive after a tasty meal with good friends. However there also is a bit of rough edge to the bitterness on this one and I'm thinking it needs a few more months in the bottle for the flavors to become truly integrated and smoothed out.

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

12oz. bottle served in a snifter. Poured a dark amber with a finger of off white head. Amazing aroma of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and a little alcohol. Big, rich and smooth body. Toffee and more vanilla in the flavor. A fair amount of hop bitterness, but just to balance the malt. I wouldn't call this a hoppy beer though. Very long finish of vanilla, oak and bourbon. Might be a bit over the top with the bourbon, but in a good way! One of the best beers I have had this year.

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Photo of raverjames
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with a 2 finger head. Head retention is great.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, smoke, and caramel.

T: Roasty and malty. If you could make a beer taste just like bourbon, it would be just like this. Tons of oak and vanilla.

M: Smooth, sweet, and rich. A tad sweet, though it compliments the heavy bourbon flavor and booze.

D: Great beer that is pretty easy to drink for the abv. Perfect brew for a cold night in front of the fire. Founders doesn't seem to make a bad beer, and this is just another example of their best work.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a chalice. This a medium translucent amber/brown color with only slight head. There's a lot going on in the smell: vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, maple syrup, oak, and loads of bourbon and scotch... very inviting.

Taste is exceptionally sweet with more traces of maple syrup, vanilla, and varying whiskeys.. but not quite as diverse and complicated as the smell. Not very heavy or hot for something with double digit ABV, this is pretty drinkable. Enjoyed

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Photo of PDXHops
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A deep reddish brown boddy is capped by a smallish tan head that soon reduces to a small island of foam in the middle of the glass, with a thin ring around the rim. A bit of lacing.

Sweet aromas of oak, restrained bourbon, baked apples and vanilla. The bourbon is more assertive in the mouth, but not at all overpowering. Plentiful sweetness of caramel malt, vanilla and oak. Maybe a hint of chocolate as well. Some roasted malt and a sort of grassy bitterness keep things in check. The finish is surprisingly dry, with a bit of warming alcohol. Mild bourbon/oak aftertaste.

Overall impression: Probably an nice candidate for cellaring, although the bourbon is perfectly integrated into the beer already. Very enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of Anthony1
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thin cap of tan foam, that receded after five minutes, leaving a ring of bubbles at the edge, and a cool spiderweb pattern across the mahogany surface.

Big bourbon aroma. A swirl kicks up a sweet maltiness behind it, hinting at the base beer's character. Otherwise it's sweet, woody whiskey and sour mash fumes: hints of corn, cherry, and fried plantain. Full fledged bourbon flavor too, more or less steamrolling the whole thing. Luckily not as harsh as straight bourbon, but the full flavor is there. Flashes of sweet malt underneath, with a growing warming sensation in the gut with every sip. Low carb and medium body, the strong flavor takes centerstage.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 7,989 ratings.
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