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: 1,831 | Ratings: 8,055
Photo of FosterJM
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

105th Review on BA
Bottle to Pint
12oz bottle

Thanks CosmoHopHead for the gift!

App- A dark brown with not very much head and not much for swirl marks either.

Smell- A nice oaky boozy with hints of dark fruits (raisin, fig) some light vanilla and the bourbon of course.

Taste- I get the use of the Scotch ale. This does not drink like a beer. Such a fine and superb taste. I really enjoyed it.

Mouth- A bit less than a full mouthfeel with a nice low carb to give a nice beer.

Drink- I have one. I want more.

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Photo of bwan15
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours dark as freshly-oiled walnut. It glows golden-brown around the edges, and darkens to a muddy opacity at the center. What little head there was at the beginning has all but dispersed over a few minutes.

Smell: Boozy almond and vanilla with a woody bottom.

Taste: Flourishes of bourbon-soaked vanilla beans and butterscotch are woven lovingly into a sweet, woody core of malt. Hops are too inebriated by the sweet booze to make much of a stand in the way of bitterness. There may be undertones of fruit somewhere in there, but they are well-hidden. My only complaint is there are occasionally hints of rotten almond dragging the bottom down. Walks a thin line between balanced and off-kilter, and for the most part, pulls it off.

Mouthfeel: Thick and luscious. Coats the mouth and warms the throat with hot alcohol and a sweet, earthy aftertaste.

Drinkability: I could probably drink two of these in a row before I felt compelled to call it a night. This is a big beer and it drinks like a dessert. The boozy fumes are powerful but not overwhelming. Definitely one to sip and enjoy the nuances and subtleties.

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Photo of AScribjr
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is not for your everyday beer drinker...This beer pours like the red seas...And the aroma of this beer opens up the bourbon barrel. the first sip is a full mouth of delight.But the way it makes you feel is the best.It is to bad thiss beer is very limited...thank-you Founder

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Photo of zhanson88
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Backwoods Bastard pours a dark brown color with deep ruby highlights. About a finger of light tan head reduces down to very little lacing.

Smell: Pretty malty with a bunch of scotch flavor along with slight dark fruits and molasses.

Taste: Very malty, with some dark fruits, oakiness, and scotch flavor. Possibly some floral hops on the back end, just slightly bitter. A very unique and tasty flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied and smooth drinking without a lot of carbonation. Very nice. Despite The nice flavors and feel of this beer, I find it very hard to put more than one down at a time. The scotch flavor and maltiness is great for one beer, but overstays its welcome after that.

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

Pours a dark ruby with a pinky's worth  of light tan head.  Smells smokey, malty and boozy, a lot of smokiness.  Tastes pretty much exactly like it smells, boozy, oaky and smoky. Damn good beer! Mouthfeel is good, low carbonation, but thick enough, and drinkability is high, at least for me it is. An outstanding beer, but if smoke flavor isn't your thing, avoid this brew.

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Photo of wchollif
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark carmel color, can still see through the glass. Very little head but a bit more carbonation that expected. The smell is bourbon and alcohol, some sweetness to the nose. The flavor has maple syrup and vanilla notes with a good dose afftertaste bitterness. Mouthefeel is a bit thin for me. I'm not sure I could get through another one of these at %10, but it's a great 12oz. after dinner beer.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle to snifter.

A: Light to very opaque brown in color with nice lacing and very small head.

S: Molassas malts with the magic founders bourbon edge with notes of peat, dark fruit, raisins and dates.

T: Nice bourbon to malt ratio in this beer. Huge bitters in the back of the palate. Caramel, dark fruits and a pecan nut flavor come through as well. A little sickly sweet at times for me.

M: Thinner than expected on the feel and sort of hot and heavy (of you will).

D: This beer is quite hard to get through as a bottle, its tasty but gets a little old as you go through it. this is a 12oz to share for sure.

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Photo of VMWhelan
3.63/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brownish color that appears more of a reddish-brown when held up to light. Thin head that dissapates within about a minute and leaves some nice lacing the whole time.

S: Wow, you can really smell the bourbon in this one. Also smells of oak, molassas and even some dark fruit in there such as raisin.

T: Mostly malty and nutty. The bourbon is very prevalent as well, a little more so than I really would like in the taste. A little boozy going down.

M: Medium to thick; creamy.

D: For the 10% ABV, this one goes down suprisingly easy. While it is definitely an excellent beer, I'm not sure if I could see myself drinking more than one of these in a night, the molasses gets a little tiring.

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Photo of fastpass17
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Brown Bottle

A: Mahogany in color, medium carbonation, 1 finger head sticks to the side of the glass.

S: Bourbon, molasses, burnt caramel, raisins, and vanilla to round it out.

T: Vanilla, caramel malt, oak, bourbon, nutmeg. Creaminess is present throughout. This is what I expect out of a wee heavy.

M: Light carbonation slightly still, alcohol hotness is present.

D: After dinner drink, or one or two with a book when its cold outside.

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Photo of jayt206
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: As soon as I finished the pour, the first color that came to mind was Burnt Sienna (thanks, Crayola.) The pour yielded a two finger head, which formed a solid, cream colored curtain as it died down.

S: Heavy amounts of vanilla, followed by bourbon and a hint of fruit (sweet raisins and cherries.)

T: Bourbon dominates initially. A rich malty sweetness follows to help mellow the bourbon. Vanilla and fruit (aforementioned raisins and cherries) make an appearance at the end.

M: Medium body. Definitely some heat from the alcohol, yet still smooth with a nice amount of carbonation.

D: Very drinkable, despite the ABV. A great brew to sit back and finish off the weekend with. I only tried 1/4 from the pack, as I am interested to see how it cellars.

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

A - Pours a hazy, murky brown in color like some skanky swamp water. Not much of a head, just some thin off-white bubbly murk. Very little spotty lacing. The look of this brew is very befitting the name.

S - As soon as I poured this brew, I could smell bourbon just pouring from it! Serious bourbon. I haven't smelled a beer this Bourbonny in my beer drinking experience. There are also some sweetish caramel notes and it seems like you can almost smell the oak.

T & M - Very boozy tasting...the bourbon is a huge component in this one. You can certainly pick up the oak notes and that same sort of caramel malt touch in it, but the bourbon is center stage in this production. Seems maybe a bit lacking in body, a bit thin. What it lacks in body is made up in smoothness though. This is a silky smooth bourbon brew that ends with that alcoholic snap at the end.

D - If you like bourbon barrel brews, you'll fall in love with this as soon as you pry the cap off the bottle. You do have to appreciate bourbon to be able to drink more than one in a sitting though. All in all, Founders did not let me down here. This is a very solid brew and well worth the try.

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

What a wonderful beer.

A: The brew was thick in appearance but not too malty in the mouth. I drank it a night so the color was dark so that is all I could say.

S: The smell was sweet and faint hint of alcohol was in the back ground along with notes of barrel aged

T: Full of flavor. Very dark and the taste of the barrel age came through on a perfect balance. Some time the taste of what was previously brewed in the barrel can be strong but this was an equal pairing.

M: Thick but not syrupy.

D: Oh yeah.

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

12oz bottle served in a thistle glass.

L - murky brown with a khaki colored head that thinned to a ring and left a few trails of lacing.

S - bourbon, oak, vanilla bean.

T - heavy bourbon taste upfront with some malty sweetness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

O - good example of the style.

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Photo of in780
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint. Here we go:

A - Looks like a brown ale, decent head dissipates, and little lacing thanks to the syrupy texture/alcohol.

S - Caramel and bourbon

T - Maple syrup, with caramel, oak, vanilla, some spice, and of course, bourbon, more on the finish.

M - Full-bodied and thick. Little carbonation

D - Could drink something that tastes like this all day, but the syrup is and alcohol are a little over-powering, need to switch to something else after this.

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

Pours a ho-hum murky brown color with a rather small head that settles into a light ring. The aroma is of brown sugar, vanilla, some sour oak and some sweet bourbon. Pretty much all bourbon barrel in the nose, but it does smell quite nice. Very much like the aroma, the taste is dominated by the bourbon barrel. I like to see a sturdy malt and some smoke or wood flavors in a scotch ale but this doesn't seem to have it. It does have a very tasty bourbon flavor with good vanilla and sour oak flavors to go along with the bourbon flavor. The malt bring some brown sugar flavor and perhaps the lightest touch of peat. The feel is light with tingly carbonation; finishes quite sweet and a bit sticky, not cloying for a 12oz bottle. There is some boozy vapors going on. This is a very tasty brew due to the bourbon barrel aging and I scored it as such. However I would like to see more of the malt pop through especially for a 10.5ABV brew. If you are going to make it that boozy, beef up the malt. If you like the taste of bourbon is a light body this is for you. I like this beer don't get me wrong just needs to be a tad thicker.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.6/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle in to a thistle/tulip bulb glass

In appearance, this bastard resembles a great head of a nutty light brown with tight bubbles. Head foams almost like a guiness quality creeping up slowly but staying compact. Your typical dark midnight brown color if I could call it that.

The bouquet is fantastic. Giant cream smell, HAZELNUT, chocolate, pralines, light brown sugar, milkshake consistency sweetness on the nose, malt is not noticeable, no smoke, it smells like warm creamy hazelnut hot chocolate.

Taste is fabulous, mild carbonation giving way to some malt and this giant cream finish of nutty hazelnut chocolate and pralines coming through a buttery finish with maple syrup. Medium bodied, not syrupy not wet either. Just a flat out joy.

I am a big bourbon fan, and its sometimes hard to find THIS much flavor, bouquets, and tastes just coming from ONE bourbon. Ironically, the beer does not remind me of whiskey, but that's fine with me because it is flat out exceptional. You don't even notice the high ABV content. What the heck is up in the water in GRAND RAPIDS!!!!

Drinkability is stratospheric!

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle at 45* into a snifter.

A: This pours a very dark, reddish-brown color with a half-inch of light foam that does not last, yet leaves terrific lacing.

S: I was hoping for some of the peaty aromas of Dirty Bastard but the smell is almost completely that of bourbon (not that it is a bad thing).

T: The taste shows some peat, floral notes, and plenty of delicious bourbon.

M: This has a medium body and somehow shows no "hotness" whatsoever.

D: This has a delicious bourbon taste but it would be better if it incorporated more of the scotch flavors of Dirty Bastard.

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Photo of LiquidBread219
2.63/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A= It was dark in color like a brown. No real head.

S= The only thing I smell in this beer is bourbon.

T= The taste is the same as the nose bourbon and that's about it.

M= Right amount of Carbonation for this beer.

D= A lot of people like this beer but I just don't like it at all hard to get through IMO. I have a few bottles left I'll gift them and probably won't try this one again.

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Photo of Boitnott
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured from a bottle into a tall tulip class. It had been aged for about a year. The ageing may confound so of the results of this review. I was told that it was stored properly but I have heard that it is never a guarantee. This is my first try with an aged beer so here we go...

A: An opaque red brown color. Literally not light comes through the beer. Not much head on the beer which may be an after effect of the aging. Pretty light lacing as well, once again may be indicative of the aging. Very nice looking beer.

S: Pure scotch whiskey. I can also smell some of the sweet malts used and maybe same distant hop smells as well. Smells so close to scotch that is is hard to smell anything.

T: Wow. There is so much going on with this beer. The nose is reminiscent of the medium hops and sweet malts. There is also a bit of caramel, but only a touch. The finish of the beer is where it really shines. It finishes in three stages: (1) the sweet caramel taste becomes apparent, very sweet for a dark ale; (2) next the slight bitterness of the hops comes to the surface but does not eliminate the sweetness; (3) finally the scotch whiskey barrel aging process becomes the dominant flavor, this flavor lingers for about five seconds after you sip the beer. As opposed to other beers, these tastes do not polarize each other. They integrate very well and create a nice combined flavor on the palate that lingers for longer than any beer that I have tried.

M: The beer is amazing smooth and medium bodied. I expected a "Wee Heavy" to be much thicker (like Dirty Bastard) but this is not the case with this beer. The only issue is the lack of head on the beer. It would have been nice balance the powerful tastes of the beer. Once again this may be due to the aging process. This is not to say that there was no carbonation. The beer even leaves a tingly feeling on your lips as you sip it, which is probably because of the ABV.

D: At 10.2%, the drinkability is astounding. With the smell I assumed the beer's scotch taste would be overpowering but it is actually more subtle than I thought, making the beer much more enjoyable. I could absolutely have a lot of these in one sitting, which is dangerous at 10.2%. I recommend this beer to any fans of the style, or to anyone who simply enjoys good beer.

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

Poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark brown color with a very small head that dissipates very quickly. Decent lacing down the sides.

S: Lots vanilla and some of the bourbon, which gives a slight alcohol aroma. Also get some oak and a little caramel.

T: The alcohol is very hidden on the taste. Bourbon and caramel upfront. The middle has some darker fruit and a really nice vanilla flavor. Has a warm finish.

M/D: Medium to full bodied. Overall I really like this beer. While very easy to drink considering its abv, I prefer to sip and savor it. Very complex, with a lot of flavor.

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

God bless Founders brewing. Do these folks make any mistakes? Man! I have thoroughly enjoyed all of their brews that I have tried.

This was my first "scotch ale" - or "wee heavy," as it were.

A: dark, burnished copper

S: bourbon, caramelized sugar

T: sweet, but not in an overpowering way (I was a little concerned that it would be like, too sweet, based on some reviews); notes of caramel are apparent

M: medium body, mild carbonation - very balanced

D: gotta say, very easy to keep on drinking - high abv is not an issue - this (like every Founders beer I've had) just begs for more drinking.

Founders produces high quality beer. Period. This one is for a fan of "old ales," barley wine, and dark ales that are relatively sweet, but not too thick. I don't smoke, but I can't help but imagine that this is a beer that would accompany a good cigar.

P.S.: Can't stop drinking this! A true treat. Enjoy!

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle out of my Harpoon LE tulip.

A- Deep reddish brown, very clean. Nice off white head, 1 finger or so. Nice lacing too.

S- Smells sweet and bourbony. Notes of vanilla and molassas. Perhaps a touch of oak.

T- Smooth and full of bourbon. The vanilla notes stand out the most to me. Starts smooth, and then really opens up.

M- Pretty much perfect. Just right with the carbonation, and the beer has just the right body.

D- This is a heavy one, but the initial flavor is just so good. A nice sipper on a cold night, very tasty

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Photo of BruceWineworks
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Tan, brownish hue with a little lacing.

S: The scent of BOURBON. Just in your face, smooth whiskey scent. Very appetizing.

T: This Backwoods Bastard will please any whiskey drinker. Strong sweet vanilla flavors with light notes of chocolate lingering in a heavy bourbon aftertaste. Incredibly smooth, the whiskey taste is not harsh or as overbearing as in some barrel aged beers tend to get.

M: A chewy and refreshing feel leaves your mouth salivating for more. Mmmm.

D: The high abv of this Bastard is the only thing stopping me from drinking the whole four pack at once. Its incredibly tasty and is everything I expect from a bourbon barrel aged ale. I hope you hate this beer so there is more of this limited release for me.

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Photo of mgoblue5743
1.97/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Just opened a fresh 2010 bottle.

Tasted like Bourbon + water; like a mixed drink instead of a beer. This is the first beer from Founders that I didn't really enjoy.

I've heard it gets much better with age, so the rest of the four pack is going into the beer fridge, but I am sorely disappointed as I tried hard to find this four-pack.

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

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

A-Deep dark raisin color. The Same color as the bottle it was poured out of. Little to no head or lacing.

S-Bourbon, raisin, plumb, molasses, grass, and caramel all present in backwoods.

T-Lots of bourbon! There is lots of warming through out. There is surprisingly quite a bit of hop presence.

M- medium to medium/heavy carbonation that fades very slowly and consistently. Carbonation elegantly leaves.

D-Drinkable but you must like bourbon barrel aged beers. I tried to drink this slow but i found it to have a somewhat addictive quality.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,055 ratings.
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