Founders Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,747
Ratings:
7,751
Avg:
4.25
pDev:
22.35%
 
 
Wants:
1,001
Gots:
3,085
For Trade:
278
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,747 | Ratings: 7,751
Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown color. Modest head to begin with--it settles to a single layer of fine bubbles. Touches of shapely but random lace.

For the smell, there is the typical caramel, candy sugar notes (of course). But there's also an unusual sourness.

The taste is chocolately sweet. Strong alcohol presence. It's like a brown ale with a shot of rum. Rich body, like a true wee heavy.

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Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. Poured a dark copper almost brown color with a small head that disappeared quickly.

Aroma is strong with Bourbon with some sweet vanilla and caramel notes. Taste also has a lot of bourbon flavor along with some sweetness. There is some vanilla and caramel much like the nose but also a hint of coffee or a latte in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and and light on carbonation. Drinkability is probably as good as it can be for a 10% beer that has a lot of bourbon flavor. I enjoyed one but couldn't drink this on a regular basis or more then one in a sitting. An enjoyable treat though none the less to have on occasion.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
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 mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I very rarely review a beer twice (first time in bottle and now on draft), but I have had this on draft 2 times in the last 2 weeks (10/4 and 10/11) and it has been signicantly better than the bottle or two I have had, so I figured I would re-revoew this on tap. From notes.

a - Pours a nice dark mohogany brown color with moderate carbonation evident and and two inches of off white head evident. Light lacing left on the glass.

s - Smells of caramel malts, bourbon, chocolate, sugar, maple, dark fruits, and light alcohol. Bourbon is up front but not overpowering; very enjoyable.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, bourbon, chocolate, bready malts, dark fruits, and booze. Again, bourbon is there and very nice, just the right amount.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink for over 10% and not too hot considering the bourbon.

d - Overall I thought this was a great scotch ale, and much better on tap than in bottles. Bourbon is there mixxing with sweet caramel malts and dark fruits, and it isn't nearly as alcohol-dominated as I remember it. Would love to have it again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Backwoods Bastard I've been wanting to try this for quite sometime now, I liked last year's label with the Banjo player adorning the label. Pours a murky mahogany brown amber hue with a large off white tan khaki head forming fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. Aromatics come straight from the barrel, soakin with vanilla/oak and mild charred bitter notes. Peated malt smokiness entertaining me upon a big malty alcoholic Scotch Ale like Dirty Bastard. Whiskey stands out in the nose and in flavor with vanilla/caramel soaked malts bringing in sweetness this beer is pretty amazing. I'm not crazy on either scotch whiskey/bourbon/scotch ale but the flavors combined do much better than each individual for me. Alcohol is so warming it pretty much overbears the carmel/vanilla/charred oak combo in my book this beer is so big I haven't tasted anything like it to date as far as craft beer goes. Carbonation surprisingly smooth and well represented, while the body is thick with residual sugars that didn't make it past residual sugars. Drinkability overall is an intense scenario that I'm sure will be passed on from generation to generation within the beer community.

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

Pours a dark ruby hued brown with a thin tan head. Nose is malty with an almost cardboard tree kind of thing going on. The first thing I thought when I took a sip was: boozy! Thankfully that seems to fade away as time goes on. What I get after that is a thick malty backbone with a sweet earthy edge. Peaty edge on the backside. Full flavor profile, not a mass of complexity. Feel is smooth on liquid and carbonation is lower. After the booze calms down here this gets better.

Thanks to tburkhart for this one.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -7.1%
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 woodychandler
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I (finally) reviewed Dirty Bastard from a CAN, but I hold out NO hope that they will ever CAN this one. That's okay, since it still helps me to reduce the bottle backlog here at Chez Woody.

From the bottle: "Ale aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels"; "Bottled 10/10/2014".

I Pop!ped the cap and just let it sit for a moment. I went with a light pour, producing a brief finger of tawny head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was a hazy Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27). I tried not to rouse the lees, but (un)clearly, I was unsuccessful. 8=( Nose smelled like straight up, straight on bourbon! I am not a huge liquor drinker, although I have an affinity for rye whiskey. Bourbon is not really my thing, but I know it when I smell it. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was definitely of bourbon, but it was much less than I remember it being a year ago. I may be losing my mind, but man, this was smooooth for 10.2% ABV! It tasted of wood, coconut, caramel,but not at all sweet. It was impressive, really. The finish was smooth, in the twilight zone of semi-sweet and semi-dry. You tell me. Wow! Just ... wow. I just kind of sat back and licked my lips and contemplated how I might possibly follow this one.

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Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a 2010 bottle poured into a snifter. The brew appears a hazed brown color with some hints of crimson through the body. A yellowish tan froth sits atop the brew and quickly fades to a thin layering atop. Spotty lace work clings all over the glass and a light swirl easily revives just under a finger of froth.

The aroma of this brew includes an immediate punch of bourbon reinforced alcohol along with a bunch of subtle barrel aromas. The oak displays a bit of woody quality that melds into burnt sugars and vanilla. This is quite a sweet and enjoyable smelling brew.

The taste has expected bourbon accented alcohol flavor that is mildly tangy. It also includes a warmth that isn't noticed right away but it creeps into play. Mild fruit almost like raisins mixes with toffee, caramel, and prunes. Just like the aroma indicated, there is a solid amount of barrel character present. The oak comes off with a drying tannic quality that is midly medicinal. The oak is almost raw in nature but blends into some mild spice and vanilla. Across the back is a bit of herbal tinge which starts the constant interplay between sweet verse hoppy verse warming with alcohol.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. It is a little light in the body for the style but still very enjoyable. I enjoy a little bit of smoked aspect in this type of offering and I didnt really pick up on any of that. Instead, I was left with an enjoyable barrel aged beer that could easily be mistaken for a barleywine/strong ale. Overall a pretty solid offering, I wouldn't mind trying one of these fresh to see if there is any big difference.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.06/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Bottle dated 10/8/10.

Appearance - Like its baby brother Dirty Bastard, it's got nearly no head and a dark brown body with flecks of ruby. A few bubbles and a ring around the surface show the only signs of life.

Smell - Bourbon and lots of it. When it's cold, it only smells of bourbon and charred oak. As it warms, it smells significantly better. The malt character comes through as caramel and burnt sugar. Good bit of buttery scotch ale back there too.

Taste - Bourbon and oak again in the flavor. Bitterness, too. Maybe from the oak or maybe from the hops, not sure. Again, the malt profile doesn't shine until it warms. When it does, it's exactly as the smell indicates: caramel, burnt sugar, and some butter. Not complex, but good.

Mouthfeel - Hot for sure. You taste all of the 10.2%. Otherwise, it's not such a big beer. It's not as thick as 10.2% would indicate and the carbonation keeps it from being syrupy. Still slow drinking from the booze.

Overall - The base beer, like Dirty Bastard, just isn't that interesting. The bourbon aging makes it quite nice, though.

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Photo of jwc215
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BrewerB for this one!

Poured into snifter:

Pours hazed brown with a thin tan head that immediately becomes wispy. Some slowly vanishing lace sticks.

The smell is of raisins, toffee, bourbon (don't know which - but it's a nice one!), and vanilla/oak.

The taste is of raisins, toffee - towards chocolate with some peat. A nice bourbon character comes through strongly, but not overwhelmingly. As it progresses, some cherry and more vanilla come through. Sweet turning to a dry whiskey-like finish. Seems as though the bourbon were added directly to the beer.

The body is medium, but on the fuller side. I would have expected a but more fullness, but this works well enough to (barely) get the given score. Pretty smooth, though with a kick.

This is a nice sipper, to say the least. A tasty maltiness combined with bourbon. I'm a happy man to have tried this one!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazed, deep dark crimson to brown, slimmed, dunnish head.

Sweet, bourbony aromatics right off the bat. Cherry wood and leather. Spices and smoke. Rich and luxuriant.

Taste: Very complex, too much going on to take it apart at first sip. You get the wood, the whiskey, and below the sweet Scotch ale at the base. Mmm, oaky...mmm, rich and bourbony. Starts sweet, gets dry and well-rounded, nicely balanced, and oozing over with wonderful flavor. You don't feel the 10% right away, but it gets in there, oh, yes...very nice. Not too much bourbon, which can be a detriment at times. If it weren't so strong or so expensive, I'd be at this quite a bit.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in trade from barak316, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a slightly murky reddish brown with a tiny off white head that never really musters, but never fully dissipates either. Smells of sweet caramel and brown sugar with lots of dark fruit and oak and bourbon. The smell is heavenly really. Taste is as sweet as advertised but have enough bourbon warmth to keep is slightly balanced. Lots of dark sugars and dark fruits round out the flavor nicely. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet sugary almost syrupy mouthfeel. I enjoyed the heck out of this beer! I only wish it were a little easier to obtain.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dark red color with tan head. Aroma has really nice mellow bourbon, butterscotch, caramel, toffee and raisins. Taste starts slightly sweet and nutty with dark malts and raisins. In the middletaste you start to get the bourbon, caramel and fudge. Finishes with butterscotch and caramel and lingers on the aftertaste. Medium body and carbonation. Really good barrel aging on this one. Lots of fudge and caramel. Excellent overall.

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Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtd1969 for sharing a bottle with me.

A - dark amber with a soft, off white head leaving a thin lacing

S - big bourbon aromas, some fruit, caramel

T - caramel, huge bourbon flavors, alcohol, dark fruit

M - warm, medium to full bodied, well carbonated

This is a decent beer. It's a bit simple, but it's good. The bourbon is a bit heavy and the underlying scotch ale at times seems to struggle with it. On the whole, this is a very nice beer that is worth trying.

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

Bought a 4-pack from Armanetti's.

A - Murky brown color. Pours with a thin head that dissipates quickly to an attractive lace. Small amount of carbonation is present.

S - Whiskey & oak. Sweet and malty, some chocolate and molasses in there too. Needs to warm a little from fridge temperature before the flavors come out. Rich!

T - Mmm...bourbon & caramel. Leaves me with an aftertaste of Werther's. Oak and brown sugar flavors in there too. There's a little bit of hops too, although not as much as I'd expect for a beer with 50 IBUs.

M - Not as viscous as I expected for a beer that has heavy caramel taste - a little watery. Nice tingle from the carbonation that complements the bourbon. Smooth finish, without heavy alcohol burn.

D - Drinks awfully well for a 10.2% brew. I'd totally have a couple, even if it results in a short night!

Another great brew from Founder's!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.6/5  rDev +8.2%
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 rab53
4.19/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant reddish-brown. Thin white head fades rapidly. Aroma is dominated by bourbon, not so much oak. More bourbon and malt in the taste. Warm alcohol. No hop presence. Very low carbonation, mimicking a liquor. Would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.55/5  rDev +7.1%
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 GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is almost completely black, with some deep blood-ruby highlights around the edges. Thin, sparse, frothy, beige head that settles slowly into an uneven covering. Aromas are darkly sweet and earthy, with a heavy dose of caramel, molasses, and cherries blended with a good booze character and some woody smells. Flavors are bold and rich all over the front of the tongue, with a decent alcohol warmth that hits the throat immediately. Taste profiles include a strong bourbon backbone, with rich caramel and molasses sweetness rolling off. Good balance of sweet characteristics, with a roasty feel, and a kick of light cherry sweetness at the end. Super rich and smooth, with a good, full body to carry both the flavor and the ABV. Aftertaste is slightly sharp thanks to the ABV, with oaky and earthy flavors. The finish is slightly cloying, with a slightly astringent feel from the booze. This is a good brew that is fairly easy to drink despite the increased alcohol presence. This is an ass kicker!

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Photo of Billolick
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Armsby Abbey in Worcester, MA. In a snifter, this one sits in all its dark dark amber splendor. Dark tan head, fine wispy lacing. Nose of smoke, berries, vanilla. Very tasty, sipper. More smoke, some cola, dark grains, raisins. Perhaps a bit thin mouthfeel wise to match the ABV and the complexity lurking around here. More tasty, high quality and interesting beer from Founders.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a solid beer. It poured a rich amber with white head that did not leave much head. The scent and taste had a strong bourbon base. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this beer is fantastic and borders a barley wine. Probably one of the best wee heavys ive ever had.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle less than two months old. Served from the bottle at Canal St Pub, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Rustic amber bronze colored body, fairly clear though not completely. Tiny tan head forms but quickly dissipates, leaving almost no lace behind unless you have it a vigorous pour to form more of a head.

S: Boozy bourbon notes, wood, oak, vanilla and some roasted malts. The bourbon is the focus all while the Scotch Ale style aromas try to break through. If you love bourbon, this is probably one of the most aromatic non-stout barrel aged beers I've come across. Intoxicating, smooth and boozy; wonderful.

T: Bourbon dominates yet again, but it's not harsh or overly boozy. You know it was bourbon barrel aged on first sip, and if you don't care for the spirit, you won't like this. Complex toffee, vanilla and faint yeasty notes are mid-palate. Warming on the swallow and into the linger in the back of the throat to the chest. Ridiculously smooth, blended and balanced. Hands down, this is my favorite Scotch Ale I've ever tasted.

M: Incredibly smooth, lower on the carbonation but enough to break up the flavors and provide balance. Feels like drinking a very well made, crafted bourbon whiskey.

Backwoods Bastard was a very early beer I had when I first started drinking craft beer, and while I do remember enjoying it I don't think I appreciated it as I do now. It's so complex, flavorful and smooth; unlike many other bourbon barrel aged beers. One of my Fall favorites that I cannot get enough of.

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

A - Chicory brown with solid black/brown core. Light rim of head with trace lacing.

S - Blast of bourbon. Hard woods, vanilla bean, brown sugar, booze, coconut. Almost overwhelming but it really grows on you.

T - Sweet molasses, bourbon. Vanilla, booze, oak, pepper, cream, touch of smoke. Background notes of raisins and dark dried fruits. Extremely strong. Unlike the nose, the flavor hits as hard on the last sip as it does on the first.

M - Medium, almost perfect, creamy body with a boozy dry finish. A little too much alcohol in the finish.

D - Way too powerful to rush through. It's a beer that should be enjoyed slowly, but it carries such a punch that you really don't have a choice.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-review. Originally reviewed back in early 2010.

Side-by-side tasting of the 2009 Vintage (bottled 11/19/09) and the 2011 Vintage (bottled 10/07/11). Both poured in to Founders tulip glasses.

2011 Vintage (reflected in the ratings):

A - Medium murky brown colour with some copper highlights throughout. A thin layer of cream coloured head quickly receded to a few bubbles.

S - A light bourbon aroma up front with toffee, brown sugar and dark caramel. Slightly noticeable alcohol presence cuts through the malt aromas creating a good balance. Not an overly robust nose, but a nice balanced nose.

T - Some noticeable warming alcohol up front and throughout that is present without being overwhelming. Scotch, bourbon and toffee flavours up front that are complimented by lighter notes of oak, vanilla and dark caramel. A very robust flavour profile.

M - Medium body, smooth and creamy. Light to moderate carbonation.

---

2009 Vintage (not reflected in the ratings):
[4.0/3.5/3.5/4.5/3.5]

A - Same as '11.

S - Very sweet. Bourbon, toffee, brown sugar and a hint of maple syrup.

T - Massively sweet, especially in comparison to the '09. Huge toffee, brown sugar and caramel flavours overshadow the barrel aging qualities that completely fade in to the background. The bourbon is there in the background but the oak and vanilla from the '11 aren't present at all.

M - Fairly similar to the '11 with slightly lighter carbonation.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 1,747 ratings.
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