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 jnn4v
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light chestnut color, bordering on mahogany since it's got some deep ruddy hues. Very little off-white / light tan head. Hazy, but still translucent. No visible sediment.

S: Delicious blend of scents fills the glass. Caramel, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, oak, toasted butter, and butterscotch.

T: Absolutely delicious flavor that follows up nicely on the scent. Butterscotch, toffee, and caramel are first and foremost. Alcohol heat is only slightly evident, and mostly in the aftertaste. Hints of fresh oak as bitterness as well as charred oak bourbony flavours throughout the mid to after taste.

M: Good density and viscosity. This is fresh, so perhaps that's why it's a bit more carbonated than I'm used to for a wee heavy / scotch ale? Especially for a bourbon-barrel-aged version.

O: Very good beer. One of my absolute favorite scotch ales, and something I go for (when accessible) whenever I'm in the mood for bourbony flavors but without the bite.

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Photo of marvin213
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seriously--dude with long gray beard and no irises just staring at me from the bottle begins this unique experience. Oh yeah--dude's holding an ax. Does anybody (consciously, anyway) consider bottle label when judging appearance? The beer itself is much better looking, and certainly less creepy. It's like a thick lookin' syrup as I gently pour this one into a pint glass and, unlike most beers, the head forms more as the brew just settles into its holder.

The smell is friggin' awesome. Now--full disclosure--I enjoy a good bourbon now and again, but as I ease into adulthood in part by transitioning into relatively tame beer, I'm enthralled by the return of this aroma. It smells like my old fraternity house...but without the cig smoke. Less beer, more bourbon. Like a baby's smile, it's oh so sweet!

This bottled beer looks and smells so cool that I knew it'd be difficult for the taste to meet the bar, and I'm afraid it doesn't. Don't get me wrong--this is a good beer, but it's so like bourbon that it's as if it's not quite grown. Back to my baby theme, I feel like I robbed the cradle by opening and drinking a bourbon before it was fully grown! I actually love this's just kinda wierd for a beer. I've had the Allagash like this, and I think this one is better. Where in the Allagash the bourbon (as I recall) is over the top, this is simply a good, well-blended, bourbon-influenced ale.

The mouthfeel is okay with a sweetness. Sweetness makes it a wee bit better than average in my book. Carbonation is good. As the liquid sits in my mouth and I can no longer smell it, it begins to lose that bourbon touch. It returns a tad in the aftertaste.

Now, this is a genuinely bourbon-influenced beverage. I've noticed it's different than the wee-heavy in the descriptor above, if for nothing else than the ABV on this joker is 10.2%. As such, I don't recommend you funnel this one. Tell ya what, though--this beer is unique and tasty enough to include in any tasting. I think it demonstrates a little about how versatile a beer can be. That being said, I probably won't ever drink two back-to-back. I will, however, strive to always keep one on hand.

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

Found a 4-pack of this at Total Wine, and it is everything I expected. Served in a chalice style glass.

Pours murky brown mahogany with with reddish hues. Head is a light tan, single finger that remains throughout the drink. Strong scent of caramel with a great bourbon background, oak, and toasted malt.

Flavor is where this beer knocks it out of the park. The mix of malt and caramel with smoky bourbon and a light alcohol burn. This is what I want from a beer. Toffee and butterscotch are there as well. Body is medium with very light carbonation. Overall this is a great beer.

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Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a quasi tulip,looks very nice.deep brown with great lacing. rich bourbon and vanilla notes in the nose,bit of caramelized sugar.bit of dark fruit.

rich caramelized sugar sweetness,vanilla and oak flavors. bit bourbon burn in the finish.moderate clean bitterness. overall pretty nice,real into the strong bourbon flavors.

mouthfeel is medium bodied,doesn't take away much from the beer itself. the beer is a nice sipper,the abv is high which takes away from the drinkability imo. still kinda hot as well,but i like this rough version.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, this is one fantastic beer. Was good in the years past but to me this years is the best yet. Higher ABV then in years past but you can't taste it. No over the top booze hit here at all. Just a nice warmness. Amazing flavor and depth. Really glad I grabbed 2 - 4 packs when I could as it didn't last long before being sold out and I can surely see why. Another home run from Founders. I rank it right up there with their Stouts which coming from me is a helluva statement. Damn good. Think I'm going to have one tonight. Cheers

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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 Shrews629
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a brownish, dark maroon color. An off white, very light tan head that was relatively small and didn't have much retention. Might be because of the high ABV of this beer. Left some traces of lacing. The beer is predominately cloudy with some burnt orange highlights at the bottom.

Smell - The aroma clearly had the characteristics of bourbon whiskey. A nice "woody" note also. Maybe even a small touch of chocolate. This brew had a very pleasant burnt sugar, toffee, caramel malt smell. It was a little like those candy brown sugar "haystacks." Sorghum even. Very complex and balanced.

Taste - The flavor revealed the bourbon whiskey once again, but it also had a brown sugar taste that gave it some sweetness. I swear it seems like I'm getting a slight touch of an orange slice taste. Small smattering of bitterness. Again, well balanced and complex.

Mouthfeel - Medium/full mouthfeel with a significant alcohol burn and warmth. Leaves a tremendous amount on the palate. Well after the sip the flavor remains. It's smoother than one might think and it is nicely dry all the way through.

Drinkability - This beer is very, very nice. Lots of kick and a wonderful aroma, taste and mouthfeel. Most definitely a beer for sipping. The alcohol is prevelant, but it is surprisingly not distracting. It's noticeable in the mouthfeel, but it's not unbearable. After one of these I would more than likely be done. Not from lack of enjoyment, but lack of alcohol tolerance.

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

A real gem of a beer.
All the qualities of a wee heavy and the savory notes of a bourbon aged stout.
Pours inky black with khaki head with rich bourbon, vanilla notes. Taste is sweet malts forward, caramel, molasses and vanilla notes with a pleasant finish. Mouth feel is medium, mild effervescence, delicious.
ABV well hidden - solid beer, a real winter warmer.

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Photo of Masonz223
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smell: Carmel lots of vanilla burbon slight expresso
Taste: upfront vanilla Carmel middle of the mouth burbon toffee finishes with some oak vanilla and a slight coffe roastiness.
Feel: very slick feeling in the mouth light carbonation
Overall: very tasty you get all the barrel aged qualities. the taste disapears pretty quickly wish the flavor lingerd longer in the aftertaste. You don't really taste the alchool in this one but you do feel it!

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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 prost2hefeweizen
4.65/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours almost black with little to no head or lacing. Held up to a light the body is red.
Smell - sweet malty whisky
Taste - malty sweetness upfront. There's a delicious Scotch aftertaste. The more I drink the stronger the bourbon taste. So good.
Feel - really smooth. Little carbonation.
Overall - this is my first wee heavy. It's awesome. Not overly boozie, especially with being 11.6% alcohol.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second go around with Backwoods Bastard. The first time it totally blew me away and I sought out another 12 pack worth (not that easy given it was well past it's original distribution date).

Scotch ale is a style I could do without. Founders has an outstanding body of work and I can appreciate Dirty Bastard, just not enjoy it.

Aging it in bourbon barrels is a whole other story. The second go around I'm equally impressed and amazed with the bourbon balance. The aroma seems a bit heavy and lends the strongest bourbon element to the experience.

The actual flavor is a bit more balanced. The strong malt profile of the scotch ale is very much balanced out by the bourbon.

I look forward to seeing how these age over months and years.

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Photo of goatgoat
3.37/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to russwbeck for the opportunity.

Poured into a snifter and allowed to warm. A murky amber brown with a thin caramel tan head. Aroma is nothing but bourbon, vanilla, oak, spice. No hint of malts or hops that I could tell. The taste is better. Blended sweetness on the tongue, still strongly bourbon but with more wee heavy present. A sweet but not cloying finish, thanks in part to a mild alcoholic drying feel. Overall the abv was not overwhelming present. Generally full body.

I'm not a bourbon person, so this was a miss for me. But it's a nice foray into malt-forward and -bal side of experimental brews as opposed to massive IPAs or sours.

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Photo of bram325
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic example of the style. I really enjoy the dirty bastard so this is jut that one step better after being in the barrels. Everything about it just sits right with me from the color to the finish. If you are a fan of Wee Heavys this is a must..

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Photo of Jacurdy60
2.43/5  rDev -43%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

A-Deep ruby read with a bubbly head. Poor retention and little to no lacing at all.

S-Srong, potent scotch whisky and vanilla

T-Followed the nose, mostly. Some banana was in there as well

MF-Too carbonated and crisp, I was expecting something smoother

O-I did not enjoy this beer at all. It might be because I dislike liquor and it strongly resembled a scotch whisky. I guess this kind of beer is not my style, and now I definitely know so.

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Photo of dukedevil0
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 4-pack from Binny's Lakeview in Chicago, IL. Bottled on 11/05/09.

A: Pours a dark brown color with slight reddish tint and two fingers of khaki colored very thick root beer float-like head that laces as it settles to a centimeter of froth.

S: caramel, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark fruits, raisins

T: just like the smell, a sublime combination - caramel, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, oak, bourbon, dark fruits, and raisins - it's a little more difficult to pick up the individual flavors and complexity, but it's there...a slight alcohol flavor in the finish

M: very full bodied and well carbonated that makes it feel somewhat creamy for a scottish ale - nothing really mindblowing here though

D: the flavor is really good and it makes me want to keep sipping and sipping, however the alcohol taste make this one hard to drink a lot of

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

Ok, 5/5 isn't easily earned but for me , this beer couldn't taste better than it does, perfection!

Pours darker than I expected, dark brown allowing minimal light to shine through. Not much of a head or lacing, but that's not important to me. Corbonatotion levels can make or break a beer and this one doesn't need any more or less.

Smells of Bourbon with a slight sweetness cutting through.

The taste...oh the taste! First impression leads you to believe this I going to be a boozy monster of a beer, BIG bourbon takes front and center only to lead to a sweeter butterscotch flavor that counteracts the alcohol taste perfectly!

Medium bodied and sticky on the tounge , the taste that lingers on the palate is remarkable!

Overall, this is one of the best beers I've had, lives up to the hype and then some! Dangerously drinkable for 10.2%.
Founders has given me another reason to consider them one of the best breweries out there!

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Molasses. Caramel. Raisins and figs. This beer has it all.

The nose is amazing. Dark fruits, bready malts, and oak dominate.

The taste is no different. Man, this is a rich brew! A sipper for sure, but oh so complex and delicious. As it warms, more notes open up. Take your time with this one, you will not be disappointed.

As usual, exceptional job from Founders.

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Photo of mechamifune
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a burnt caramel color with a very slight off white head. Some slight carbonation evident, light lacing. To me not all that inviting looking of a beer. Not off-putting mind you, but just not one of those beers that you look at and immediately want to drink.

Smell is heavy and complex. All sorts of stuff intermingling, creating a really unique smell. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, sweet malt, smoke and almost a bit of leather.... just a whole lot there and honestly if you asked me again with the next bottle of this I would probably tell you three different things I thought I smelled. Bourbon, oak, and vanilla are really prevelant to me though. Just a really outstanding smell.

Taste is a lot like the smell... a whole lot going on and playing off each other. For whatever reason though, that combination is more enjoyable to smell than it is to taste. Heavy bourbon upfront that progresses to a sweet vanilla in the finish. Scotch ales aren't my favorite flavor profile to begin with, and while this is a notch above your "average" scotch ale in terms of complexity, there really isn't a note that just wows me.

Mouthfeel, as with most founders beers, is great and about pitch perfect for the style. This is a smooth, slow sipping beer. Full body and a sweet smooth finish.

Overall this is a great, complex beer with a lot going on. I will say outright I am not a fan of scotch ales as a style (to include founders dirty bastard), but this beer is strong enough to make me look past that. For the price point, it won't be something i'm going to be seeking out a lot in the future, as I'd rather spend that kind of money on a great imp. stout.... but if you even remotely are fan of scotch ales and/or very bourbon-forward beers, stock up on this one.

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Photo of csrbv
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a Maredsous Tulip Glass.

Appearance: rich red-brown hue with plenty of haze. Very little frothy tan foam with a bit of an amber cast. Quite good.

Smell: very sweet aroma, to the point of a malt molasses, perhaps. Along with that is a good woody aroma from the barrel, contributing vanilla and almond-like character. Very good, although massively sweet.

Taste: sweet malt, vanilla, alcohol, more sweetness, an oak woodiness, and finally a bit of bitterness at the end. The alcohol lends a bit of dark fruit character, cherry and plum. I like a lot of the flavors here. Good, but doesn't taste quite as good as it smells.

Mouthfeel: huge body, great carbonation, silky smooth creamy wonderful texture. The body on this thing is just massive, as the sweetness ought to indicate. Wonderful.

Overall: I know this is supposed to be a strong beer, but it is so smooth, quite a good beer!

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Pinknuggets
2.53/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle to fiddlehead pint glass

A: light brown color with ruby red accent thin tan head that dissipates quickly

S: reeks of booze smells more like a malt liquor then beer

T:follows the nose tastes like like burning alc liquor wasn't this barrel aged? Maybe it needs some more time there is dense wood like flavor but alc is really just overwhelming here

M: thin and light bit too heavy would be drinkable if it wasn't for the alc

O: well this totally sucked maybe its not my style but just tasted like liquor not beer maybe it needs time to mellow out or the style isn't for me but I hated it

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Photo of wheelinshirt
1.8/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Picked up a bottle of this from Abe's in Bethlehem. I liked the dirty bastard a lot so I figured I would like this. Cost me about $3. 12 oz short brown bottle, twist off lid, poured into a snifter.

Mahogany color with off-white head. Looks pretty nice. The bubbles look somewhat similar to a guinness head forming, at least in the commercials. Good retention (considering the ABV) and lots of lacing. Looks very nice.

The smell reminded me how much I hate whiskey. This is aged in bourbon barrels, but I don't know the difference between bourbon and whiskey and it just smelled like whiskey to me. No malts. No hops. Just whiskey.

The taste is even worse. This beer is so one-sided, at least for me. I can't get over the bourbon taste. It overpowers everything. Where are the kettle-carmelized malts? What happened to the beer parts of this beer? As it sat the bourbon seemed to mellow out a bit but wasn't replaced by anything. Maybe I was just tasting the beer less with time.

Mouthfeel was too thin for the style, but the mistake seems hardly noticeable.

Drinkability is low. This one is almost up there with triple bock, though this at least tastes like something someone (not me) would want to drink. One of the few beers I actually poured out. I was very disappointed in this one, but I probably shouldn't have been so surprised. If you like bourbon, you will probably like this but I still think the dirty bastard is a far superior brew. At least I got a cool bottle out of it (the newer style label).

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Photo of Frosty80
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color: pours brown. sits dark ruby

Smell: sweet malt aroma with oak and bourbon. light alcohol and hint of sweet bread and vanilla

Taste: sweet, bready malt flavors with woody and bourbon tones. finishes sweet with some whiskey and oak flavor and hints of dark fruit, cocoa, vanilla and warming alcohol

Mouthfeel: heavy-med body. smooth with low carbonation

Notes: delicious fuckin beer! i wait all year for this and i made sure we stocked up big time at the store. one of my favorite beers and probly my favorite seasonal ANYONE puts out! decided to give it a 5 cause i cant imagine a scotch ale getting any better. i can always go back anyway

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Photo of threeviews
4.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

12oz bottle (Bottled On Date: 10/14/14) into a 11oz Libbey Snifter glass
A- Pours a gorgeous (and mostly clear) mahogany, bordering on ruby red color. Although it's retention is low (after all, it is 10.2% ABV), the head grows to a strong 1+ finger's worth of a creamy, khaki colored head. (4.75)

S- The complexity imparted by the barrel aging is immediately apparent. Heady aromas of Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Coconut, Bourbon, Chocolate and pinch of Smoke all contribute to the massively complex nose. The balance between beer and barrel is exquisite and there is absolutely no detectable alcohol. (4.75)

T- The complexity in the nose carries through in the flavor. A caramel/toffee/chocolate/bourbon sweetness coats the palate and lingers for a time before a mild, peat smoke and oak tannin comes to the fore. The beer ultimately finishes dry as a from the hops helping to contribute to the calculated, 50 IBUs . (5.0)

M- The body is medium-full with a decent amount of carbonation, yet is able to maintain a creamy mouthfeel. This is unquestionably a sipper, but more due to its complex flavor profile rather than it falling heavy on the palate. As it rises to room temperature, the 10.2% ABV only surfaces in the form of a slight warming in the chest. (4.75)

O- Regardless of style, this is simply one extraordinary BBA beer. The base beer (Dirty Bastard) is excellent in its own right, but after time in a bourbon barrel transforms it into a sublime libation. Founders continues to release very solid, barrel-aged beers with Backwoods Bastard being one that is often overlooked. (5.0)

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.83/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

in a snifter from the bottle at 2 years (bo 10/24/13)

A:1 finger head, creamy, deep red to cola brown, fairly translucent but dark

S: immediate bourbon and malt, subtle vanilla

T: shockingly smooth, sweet malt and strong presence, well balanced, not a trace of bitterness to be found, vanilla, heavy brown sugar notes like a cookie or a graham cracker at times, very drinkable

M: creamy

O: a lovely beer, I will buy this again if I can find it, way better than kbs ever thought about being, relaxing and smooth almost calming, very much worth your time

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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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