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
foundersbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,835
Ratings:
8,071
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
10.56%
 
 
Wants:
1,012
Gots:
3,261
For Trade:
286
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,835 | Ratings: 8,071
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 rab53
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
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 Billolick
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
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 jwc215
4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
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 -0.9%
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 GarthDanielson
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
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 MasterSki
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
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 Duff27
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin off white head on a brown beer. Average hea retention and above average lacing for the style.

Very sweet smelling, slight booze and peat.

Peat, small hint of smokiness. Booziness is kept in check. Very tasty.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, slightly thick. Good carbonation.

Another great seasonal from Founders. Been awhile since I've had this one but just as good as I remember. Worth hunting down a bottle or two a year. Thanks kawilliams81!

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

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

Aroma is strong caramel and bourbon, nicely boozy.

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

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Photo of aasher
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a maple syrupy, thick mahogany with reddish highlights. It is really thick. The smell is of sweet maple and bourbon, that's about it. The flavor is sweet maple, bourbon, and a lot of alcohol. The alcohol is very present in both the taste and after taste. Somehow that doesn't matter. It's still a great Scotch ale. It drinks exceptionally smooth and coats both the glass and the palate. The only thing holding back the drinkability is the ever present bourbon. Very good beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a slightly hazy, dark brown-amber with a thin light khaki head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of deep caramel malt, dates and figs, hint of plums, bourbon. Flavor follows with caramel malt, toffee, dates, figs, dried plums, bourbon and a touch of oak and peat. Medium bodied with good creaminess, nice mouth feel. It's clear why this has a good reputation. All the classic flavors of a scotch ale with a good bourbon overtone. Well balanced with integrated flavors. Many good scotch ales have a little astringency in the finish; that is absent here, very smooth from start to finish. I see why Founders has such a following. Glad to see them in the West Coast. I will get this one again.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +5.4%
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 GreesyFizeek
4.56/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY, for their Bourbon and Blues night.

Pours a dark brown, clear-ish color. Somewhat hazy. Half inch head, a small amount of visible carbonation. Not much lacing.

Smells like bourbon, some cocoa, and vanilla.

Tastes incredible. So smooth and sultry- Lots of bourbon flavor, without any alcohol burn. Very subtle, smooth, and sweet. Additional flavors of molasses, caramel coconut, vanilla, and cocoa.

Medium-full mouthfeel, low but present carbonation.

A truly exceptional scotch ale/wee heavy. Founder brought the big guns here.

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Photo of Gavage
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a reddish copper color with a 1/2" head that breaks apart immediately.

Smell: malt sweetness, vanilla, and bourbon are very pleasant on the nose.

Taste: big malt profile with vanilla, bourbon, prunes, black plums, hints of molassess, and a noticeable warming alcohol. Bitterness provides a nice counter balance to the sweetness and high alcohol.

Mouthfeel: lightly dry throughout. Long and mellow aftertaste as the flavors seem to linger for quite a while. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: despite the high alcohol, this one goes down pretty smoothly. Very tasty brew.

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

A: poured a dark brown in color with burgundy orangish highlights and a thin head that left a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: very inviting sweet aroma which consisted of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, molasses, burnt sugars but with great bourbon barrel character signs of dark fruit toast sweet malts and a little booze.

T: lots of sweetness like the nose suggested, mostly caramel, brown sugar and molasses but with vanilla burnt sugar accents. It had nice bourbon barrel flavor a touch of dark fruits, a little booze heat, and hints of marshmallow.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a very sweet, bourbon booze, mildly dark fruity and slick finish.

O: I liked this beer a lot considering the sweetness, it was well balanced and very delicious. Glad I got to try it finally.

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

Thanks goes out to BrewerB for this brew.

Pours a nice brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy tan head, lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, slight bourbon notes, with some toffee. The taste is very nice, malty, slightly sweet, very nice bourbon notes, and some toffee. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, thanks for the extra Brian.

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

Thanks to Bowman (not a BA) for sharing a bottle. This is a darned tasty and drinkable beer. I'm taking it as a sipper, but I could certainly down it faster were I in a hurry. The aroma has smooth oak and mild vanilla bourbon while mellow chocolate notes and burnt caramel come out in the back of the flavor. It drinks like a balanced bourbon-beer candy drink. It's not the most complex BB beer, but it's a fine example of what a barrel can do.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev -6.1%
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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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thin tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm burnt toffee scent along with a nice oak bourbon aroma. The taste is awesome. It has a wonderful mix of warm burnt toffee with fresh oak and bourbon. The oak contributes an excellent vanilla character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I'm generally a huge fan of Scotch ales anyway, but this one is exceptional. The barrel aging adds an additional layer of complexity. The 10.2% abv. is well hidden.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brownish-red with a small white head. The aroma is awesome, lots of cherry, vanilla and bourbon. The flavor is just as great, with the same cherry, vanilla and bourbon notes, with the vanilla being the most dominant flavor. There is very little detectable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is low.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Backwoods Bastard pours a ruby mahogony with a dense off white head and some lace. Poured into a snifter to maximize aroma.

Nose is of sweet bready malts and a whiff of bourbon like booziness.

Flavor features some complex maltyness. There is a bourbonesque booze and a woody, earthy note from the barrel aging. Chocolate covered cherries. Vanilla. Oak.Faint resinous hops. Then some clean solvent alcohol in the warming finish.

Luxurious and smooth.

A strong, full flavored beer. Complex and a sipper for sure, though I could drink so much more in an ideal setting.

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Photo of dar482
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours out in this dark murky brown with a small tan head. Deep, deep amber in the light.

Sweet barleywine aroma, vanilla, caramel, oak, smokey, dark brown sugar. Just a lovely deep and sweet aroma.

The flavor is just fantastic. There is deep vanilla, caramel, dark brown sugar, and toffee. There’s also a bourbon soaked raisin flavor along with lots of dark fruit like dried dates and figs. Having had the Dirty Bastard, this turns up the beer to a different level. It rounds out the beer, but also gives it some rich intense qualities. The mouthfeel is actually medium to medium plus, which makes it quite drinkable despite the high ABV.

In general, the beer is a bit too dominated by a hop presence of wood, roots, and leafy qualities almost of an American barleywine.

The finish is actually pretty easy and sweet, but the alcohol presence is there. It’s almost like a barrel aged barleywine, but without as much sweetness and fruit qualities.

The beer has this beautiful play of sweetness, dark fruit, and then the woody bitterness and barrel character on the end.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at Capone's on draft and really enjoyed. Grabbed a bottle from Matt in his bottle shop for later,
Enjoyed in my Magic Chouffe snifter, and "wow" what pleasure when controlled for temperature and glass.Full flavors of bourbon and wood, vanilla and that soft fullness that comes from excellent aging. The alcohol is only evident in it's creep; nothing that impacts the drink enjoyment. I am a rabib double imperial stout boy, who unabashedly loves Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. But this is a wonderful drinking experience that needs to explored again and again.

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

Pours an amber/brown with a great head and lacing. Smells malty and fruity with fig and cherry. Sweet and smooth aromas that are bold but not cloying. The taste is sweet and somewhat grainy, with more deep flavors of fig, dates, butterscotch and a touch of peat to control all the sweet stuff. Quite creamy and full in the mouth, the flavors explode here. This pushes the edge of too sweet but holds on to enough complexity and pure, clean flavors to be very enjoyable.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a big snifter, late 2008 edition, 50 IBU's 10.2%

A- Founders Backwoods Bastard pours a copper to dark brown color which brings up a one finger tan head. A lot of sediment is there but i poured to quick, my bad. As it dissipates there are a few squiggly lines of head in the middle, while a lot of bubbles creep to the edges of the glass with some build up. Quite nice.

S- BB holds a very rich aroma of good bourbon up front with oak from the barrel, pretty much all I smelled for a while. Sweet and toasty malts follow with some caramel in the mix. I get some fruit (berries) and some wood is also there.

T- My first sip was a rush of bourbon and oak attacking the senses while some malts and vanilla smoothed things out. The cherry presence was also quite a nice touch. The sweetness of the caramel flavor with some spices while woody notes are there. The bourbon never leaves the forefront though.

M- Full bodied with some carbonation. The taste goes on forever while this elixir coats the mouth perfectly leaving bourbon and much sweetness along with some alcohol. A very strong feel, this bastard makes itself known.

D- Regular bastard is great and so is this. I could easily have more than a bottle of this high A.B.V brew in a sitting, no problem. This is probably not for everyone though. I want to do a side by side.

This is my first time trying this and i very much enjoyed it, BB is worth the dollars. The barrel aging in this one is spot on. I was expecting mostly bourbon but recieved much more. I drank this to quickly. Worth seeking out, will get again!!

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 8,071 ratings.
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