Backwoods Bastard | Founders Brewing Company

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Backwoods BastardBackwoods Bastard
BA SCORE
4.35/5
Outstanding
8,386 Ratings
Backwoods BastardBackwoods 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
Ranking:
#340
Reviews:
1,909
Ratings:
8,386
pDev:
10.11%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
1,030
Gots:
3,410
Trade:
272
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 8,386 |  Reviews: 1,909
Photo of PhineasMcClintock
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

 680 characters

Photo of Rifugium
2.24/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Definitely the "least good" of any Founders brews I've had. Poured a reddish-mahogany color, muddy, with a spotty white head that receded to a layer of patchy bubbles. Booze-heavy aroma, almost straight bourbon, big and woody (there's a B&B joke in there somewhere). Let's be honest: this tasted like a cheap boilermaker, big on the booze, eliminating almost all complexity that might exist. Tones of oak-aged vanilla come through, but the bourbon just kills the palate almost completely. Tasted way higher in alcohol content than it actually was. Thinner than most Scottish ales I've had, but certainly not as good as some. The texture is more what I'd like to have in that it wasn't too syrupy, and certainly not as peaty, but it just didn't work with the intensity of the booze flavor. Not very good, not very drinkable, and I'll be happy never having it again. Sorry, Founders.

 940 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep, murky brown with light plum colored notes around the edges. Very minimal white head that quickly dissipated into a smallish circle around the outer rim with a few wispy traces in middle. Lacing was surprising good considering the small amount of head. Aroma is strong bourbon up front and coats the underlying currents of sweetness, spice, dark fruits, vanilla, and oak.

Taste is very complex. All kinds of stuff going on here. First up is a spicy sweetness melding into hints of vanilla oak and dark fruits. The bourbon flavor is very subtle and nicely compliments the other flavors. Finishes with a bitter hop, smoke, and alcohol combo that completely coats the back of the throat. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth viscous nature. Very nice.

Wow, Founders comes through with another oak-aged wonder. Definitely one to sip and savor to fully enjoy it's complex and warming characteristics. I just wish that I had more than just the one bottle.

 1,003 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

Photo of smcolw
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

 377 characters

Photo of REVZEB
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured on tap, dark copper under a half-inch thick white head which leaves spotty lace. Aromas of wood and bourbon. Flavors of caramel, dark fruits (raisons and plums), faintly smoky and roasty. Medium body and moderate carbonation. Finishes oaky and somewhat sweet.

 267 characters

Photo of atrocity
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of nathanmiller
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of russpowell
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Revize after drinking this year's offering, this is a great/epic tske on the style, period!

Cheers to Bitterbill ( I think) for this one! Mine is 8.7% abv

Pours caramel/chestnut with 1 finger of tan colored head. Good head retention & outstanding lacing

S: Bourbon sweetness, some oaky notes

T: Toffee, oakyness, & whisky/bourbon up front. Vanilla follows as this warms, dryness, plus a touch of leafy hops, more toffee, raisins & a bit of booze. Finishes dry with whisky notes, & some leafy & herbal hops. Good flavor, but the oakyness is just bit much for me, almost seems artificial

MF: Medium bodied, slightly overgassed, skews a bit too sweet & oaky for me

Drinks good for the abv, & style. This is a bit off style to me, but tasty enough

 751 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 1,206 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of jgunther71
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a rather small, fleeting, off-white head.

Smell: A sturdy, sweet-scented caramel maltiness with a hint of maple. Oh, and with a rich, distinct bourbon barrel aroma, but you already knew that, right?

Taste: Sweet, sugary caramel maltiness with an added dose of maple syrup. Small touch of fruit. Full, punchy bourbon barrel tastes of vanilla and toasted oak wood. Light tannic astringency. Earthy hops with a medium amount of bitterness. Pleasingly sweet, bourbony finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Lightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Oh, it's quite good. Potent, sure, but good! If ever anyone has some extra bottles of Backwoods Bastard they're looking to get rid of count me in.

 767 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 591 characters

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of WoodBrew
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 308 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"No poor bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making other bastards die for their country."

--General George S. Patton

Murky tawny with a hint of ruby and edges of bright orange. The golden brown sugar hued head is surprisingly small, but it's nicely creamy and is starting to lay down some lace. The score is a reflection of the appearance right after the pour, rather than how the beer looks several minutes later.

If you like bourbon whiskey, the nose is a good one. It features the caramelized sugar, vanilla and oakiness of that spirit. It would be nice if the scotch ale qualities of the beer were more evident.

Backwoods Bastard is good beer, but it isn't the incredibly good beer that was expected. My assumption is that it's Dirty Bastard that has been 'aged in oak bourbon barrels', as the label reads. A great beer (Dirty B) and a shot of bourbon should have resulted in something more amazing. Part of the problem is an overly thin, inadequately bubbled mouthfeel.

The flavor is increasingly enjoyable, which is why I want it to be fuller, rounder, deeper and more complex. For whatever reason, some bigger beer tends to shrink and simplify when it's barrel-aged. If I didn't like bourbon so much, the taste score would be at least one notch lower.

Regarding specifics, the spotlight is on boozy caramel, loads of crushed vanilla bean and sugared oak. Those flavors don't obliterate the qualities of the wee heavy, but they do pound them into submission. In the end, a better mouthfeel would have increased the scores on either side of it.

Speaking of which... what else is there to say? The beer is too thin for the style and the ABV. I'm not sure what happened since Dirty Bastard has such an enjoyable mouthfeel. Slight improvement with warming manages to keep it above average.

Every one of the above scores was barely achieved. Founders managed to take a great beer and a great concept (bourbon barrel aging) and turn it into 'merely good' beer. It would still be fantastic if they make this a regular release because the potential for greatness is definitely there. Thanks prototypic.

 2,135 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 1,099 characters

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -8%

Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 8,386 ratings