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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): 11.60%

Availability: Fall

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

Added by CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,750 | Ratings: 7,771
Photo of Zorro
3.81/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chill hazed reddish brown colored beer with no head formation.

Strong scent of whiskey is the first thing I notice. Lots of caramel, vanilla, chocolate, malt and especially Whiskey! Lesser scent is a little cookie dough.

Starts out malty with a strong whiskey flavor. Malt comes on after you get past the whiskey. Next to no bitterness here. Try as I might there is no way around it; this is more whiskey than beer.

Mouthfeel is a little light probably because of the alcohol content.

Personally I like this stuff, but it IS pretty strong in the whiskey department. Easy call if you like whiskey you will love this. If you do not like whiskey this will be a drain pour.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
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 tobelerone
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Red-tinged chestnut/dark cherry color; nearly clear; smallish head, not a ton of lace. Still a beautiful color and clarity.

Great aroma, lots of vanilla bourbon, toffee and caramel, faint booziness, sweet and oaky.

All of this is in the flavor and more; tons of beautiful bourbon vanilla flavor, caramel malt, toffee, sweet maltiness, very subdued hops. Faint oak note. Almost no bitterness at all.

Very smooth, rounded mouthfeel, lowish carbonation, easy to drink despite the ABV. Medium bodied, not thick or chewy at all.

Just a phenomenal beer, so tasty and balanced, lovely bourbon character.

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Photo of John_M
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Have to say I wasn't all that thrilled with the dirty bastard, but this beer here is a whole nuther kettle of fish.

The beer pours an impressive dark amber red color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is otherworldly. I get a huge complex, sweet malty aroma, with nuances of cherry, vanilla, almond and chocolate. This beer smells incredible and you can tell it's not for the faint of heart. This is clearly a very big beer. On the palate this beer is incredible. It's very sweet and very rich, but there is so much going on it doesn't tire out your palate. There is again lots of cherry and vanilla on the palate, and the beer has almost a fruit cake flavor about it. However, there is enough bitterness from the hops in the finish to keep it from becoming tiring to drink. The abv. is noticeable, but not intrusive, though I agree the high abv., coupled with the richness, certainly make it difficult to have more then one.

This is an exceptional beer. As far as I'm concerned, dump the dirty the bastard and only make this liquid nectar from now on.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich red-brown hue with plenty of haze. Head is an attractive finger of 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, tannic woodiness, and finally a bit of harsh bitterness at the end. The alcohol lends a bit of dark fruit character, cherry and plum, but is generally a bit on the hot side for me. I like a lot of the flavors here, but they just come together in a pretty harsh way. Good, but it lacks the smoothness I like in the style.

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 its strength is a little bit raw; as I said I'd prefer it a bit smoother. Still, quite a good beer.

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Photo of Kelp
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok so this brew is probably better than I am giving it. Not to say that it wasn;t a very enjoyable brew. It's just that i had bourbon county earlier today and yes i know stout vs. ale is different, but i did and so be it. The appearance is a nice medium golden hue. Has a nice mellow smell of bourbon with a wee bit of vanilla and toffee. A nice mellow bourbon taste followed by vanilla and spice. Feels a bit heavy for an ale, but still easily drinkable. I enjoyed this brew just not as much as the previous brew i had. I could have a had one or two more but that would be it before the bourbon sweetness got to me. Definitely worth a try though.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.56/5  rDev +7.3%
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 HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Awesome extra from Bigdaddywil. Very dark reddish amber, almost brown. A one finger, off-white head lingers for a short minute. The lacing disappears quickly. Immediate slap in the face (nostrils) from the bourbon. Nice. Huge sugary malt notes in the nose with some caramel and brown sugar. Initial taste is sweet and malty bourbon, with some caramel and vanilla as well. Very boozy and delicious. The finish is remarkable. Long bourbon alcohol finish that lingers, imparting a sticky coating to the back of the tongue. Full bodied with good carbonation. Backwoods Bastard leaves my mouth dry and wanting another drink.

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

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on December 13, 2012.

It pours an attractive looking amber-brown with a full off-white foamy, fluffy head that lingers on and on.

On the nose there are an array of sensations that make this rather complex. I get bourbon, wood, sweet caramel malts, butterscotch, dark fruit, and a little smoke.

The body is medium to bold and pretty smooth.

The taste has some punch with sweet maltiness and vanilla which quickly evolves into a biting, long lingering bitterness that coats my throat. This is an excellent take on the Wee Heavy style.

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Photo of weeare138
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dense, murkey dark brown with a small, 2 finger, light tan head that quickly fades out into a mild collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of rich toffee, caramel, vanilla, bourbon, apple smoked meat...pretty nice aroma on all counts.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with the vanilla, oak, and bourbon coming through with some raisin notes and lip smacking goodness with a hint of cocoa.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, warming, lightly carbonated, and yummy.

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Photo of dar482
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
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 jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev -3.5%

Pours a two finger, off-white head that slowly fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Deep ruby color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Nice oak and bourbon nose. Flavor is similar with bourbon and oak, some malty sweetness. The high ABV is hidden. $3.50 for a 12oz bottle from Bert's Better Beers Hooksett, NH.

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Photo of corby112
4.34/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark chestnut brown, almost black color that is completely opaque with only the slightest of mahogany edges and a thin coffee colored head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.

Roasted malt aroma with an awesome oak presence that gives off a nice wooden aroma with sweet vanilla notes and a good dose of bourbon/whiskey. Hints of burnt toast, chocolate, toffee and oatmeal.

Full bodied with a nice roasted malt flavor that is kind of nutty with a big oak, vanilla and whiskey presence. Chocolate malt, caramel, toffee, burnt toast and oatmeal notes are also detectable. Kind of sweet up front with a silky malt backbone with a very nice touch of bourbon and a bitter dry finish.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 4/5/12
*From notes

-- Vintage 2011 --

*Opened side by side with a bottle of the 2010 vintage.

A: Dirty cider-crimson. A good pour yields a 2.5 finger head and decent if not middle of the road lacing. Solid collar and minor lacing follow.

S: Amazing stuff. Woody and sweet bourbon smother the base beer. Just about at peak in my humble opinion.

T: Starts out with a rush of brown liquor. It moves to the mid, where a sweet spine stands tall. The woody, tannic quality kicks in on the back to finish. Even after six months in the bottle, this is still rather hot. Yet it's toned down just enough to give you a good "pop". As it warms, lots of coconut and vanilla exude themselves, as they should. Lingering hints of dark brown sugar are warmly welcomed.

M: Sure it could be thicker, but it's pretty damn big as-is. Bold cabronation and a rich, complex feel add to the top notch presentation.

O: What a treat this beer is. And I'll be quite honest: I'm glad no one really talks about it. This is just as good, dare I say maybe even then some of their other BA offerings. At six months in, this is about at peak and drinking beautifully. A hearty recommendation for the BA Wee Heavy lovers, and beer geeks in general.

2010 Vintage

A: About the same. No real difference, other then a tad bit lighter in color.

S: The bourbon is much calmer. There's a big raisinated sweetness to the bouquet. Less coconut and vanilla, more straight wood.

T: Mellow. The heat subsided quite a bit. More dark, dried fruit and less whiskey. Shorter finish.

M: Actually thicker and bigger then the 2011. More carbonation, yet a silkier feel.

A:3.5 / S:4 / T:4 / M:4.5 / O:4

Verdict: Drink this one around four to eight months after release for maximum enjoyment.

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Photo of rudzud
4.47/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by jlindros so I wouldn't have to crack one of my bottles. Poured into a snifter.

A - Poured into a snifter a clear ruby with a nice head that faded to leave a nice, slightly thick blanket.

S - Wow, the aroma...magical. Butter, oak, bourbon, with light sweet malts.

T - Very nice bourbon notes here with more oak. The ABV isnt noticeable at all...very smooth and creamy tasting with great harmony between flavours.

M - Smooth and creamy, this stuff is deliciously drinkable.

O - Overall this beer was delicious. Sad I only have two bottles of this. Wish I had more.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.33/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured deep maroon color with decent carbonation leaving a small dirty white head.Nose of booze, caramel, oak and more booze and whiskey. Taste is just big booze, bourbon, some light vanilla but hot and how does anyone call this a Wee Heavy is beyond me. It is a Strong Ale. In that category, yes it is ok, however, way off balanced, as a strong ale it needs some time to downplay the bourbon. If you like that sort of thing then great. It just took control of this beer and left it undrinkable for me.
Note to richbrew. Lets clear this up?? Lets do that. Whatever floats your boat. Before you criticize reviews and taste of others you might want to review more than 17 beers. Secondly, dont bash other reviews. Its one's own taste and choice.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark brazilin cherry with a heavy turbidity. The head was smooth and creamy, khaki in color, and moderately lasting. When held up against the light you can really get a good appreciation for the coloring and the densely packed micro-turbid nature that barely let a sliver of light through totally obstructing any view of the far side of the glass. An extremely vague and faint carbonation could barely be detected which was sparse and slow to rise. Overall a great coloring and turbid affair as well a creamy smooth head, which if lasted longer had a legitimate shot of pefection.

S: The nose was boozy burbon, which was evident upon first opening and remained fairly strong throughout. Carmalized malt, sticky and sweet, with an extract like quality fills the nose with a sweetness along with fresh plums and rum soaked raisins with a grand finale of alcohol laced wooden planks.

t: The flavor was boozy but very well refined and sweet, with the 50 ibus hardly standing a chance at balancing the massive sweetness that this beer throws out at you. Scorched wort, burnt molasses and licorice are all products of this malt forward beer. A huge dry toasted breadiness with dried maple syrup finishes up with caramelized grains and rum soaked raisins. There is as well a nice taste of burbon laced wooden planks. The alcohol is both sweet and spicy but never indicative of its 10.5% nature which I still find hard to believe. The alcohol adds a beautiful flair of flavor and was incredibly smooth and refined.

m: The mouthful was smooth and full bodied, extremely soft and luscious and almost void of any carbonation adding to its fullness as this slides around the tongue. Things finish off with a spicy dry burbon fade.

D: An extremely, almost to much so, drinkable beer considering its high abv. You probably would never guess as the alcohol adds beautiful highlights and added flair, and NOT off balancing hot liquor notes like so many other high abv beers do. Extremely smooth, refined, sweet and joyous to consume.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost blackish body with a one-finger tan head that stickss around for awhile. A rich, thick malt smell of toasted, maple, caramel, molasses, that whiskey smell (oak cask, bourbon...) mixed w/ sour/tart fruits - reminds me of a barleywine the smell is that strong. A thick, full-bodied beer that is strong and a little syrupy/sticky. The malt taste is excellent with cocoa, caramel, toffee, coffee bean, oak, vanilla along w/ minor fruit flavors like cherry (tart fruit). Overall I'd say this is a smooth and creamy scotch ale, but it does have a little dryness in it thanks to that really high ABV, which is mostly hidden. This is a grat sipper to relax with, but I couldn't session this it's so thick and strong.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.8/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1yr old 2007 brew
(Served in a snifter)
A- Dark brown body with a faint red glow thick creamy yellowish head good strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- Still a big wet oaky barrel with some nice dark dry malty notes. Make you want to sniff for days.

T- Nice full bourbon flavor with big oaky vanilla flavors and some roasted malt flavors. There is a burnt wood malt flavor to the bourbon in the finish. This lingers for a bit after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture as long as the head last. There is a soft smooth alcohol heat that supports the flavors.

D- This beer is great fresh and it is just a good with some age on it although I didn't really notice much change.
(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a deep auburn-brown body that is a bit dense but still clear. There is a creamy light tan head that sticks to the glass and last long after the beer does. It also has a nice slow carbonation of tiny bubbles that support the head.

S- The smell of big vanilla and bourbon has notes of dry toasted malt and apple wood smoke to them. There is a slight sweetness to the smoke and the aromas are big with some nice depth.

T- The taste of big oak and some nice prune flavors and a bourbon/vanilla flavor to it. There is a soft butterscotch flavor followed by a spicy bourbon note and some bitter hops that finish off the beer nicely.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft heat that lingers with the bourbon and hops taste.

D- This beer has a bit more sweetness to the malt which adds more depth to the bourbon and wood. This is a great beer for the winter months ahead. It will pair well with a warm fire, cold winter nights and perhaps a cigar.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep, dark red. Healthy pour yields less than 1/4" of head and recedes just to wisps almost immediately.

S: Heavy bourbon and bread. Surprisingly yeasty aroma. Dark fruit

T: Rich and caramelly with a healthy bourbon kick. Wood, vanilla, and a bit of toasted coconut.

M: Medium-heavy body. Rich but not heavy. Carbonation is low. Alcohol is apparent, but drinkability is still quite high.

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Photo of akorsak
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz stubby bottle from a case split with my good friend Deuane. Last time I had this, it was Dark Lord day from a growler.

A: The ale is a dark tawny color, a few shades browner that a nice port. The darkness of the ale makes discerning the clarity difficult. A finger of head did muster out of the glass but it doesn't stick around.

S: The aroma is bourbon, with vanilla and pepper notes, oak and just a wee hint of smokiness. The bourbon is definitely the star of this part of the show.

T: The sip is rather interesting, with strong bourbon up front before transitioning to a rather focused malt body. The barrel has done a number on the beer, overtaking the entire front of the sip, adding oaken bourbon and vanilla notes. The back end of the beer has a green grape-like tartness, not sour tart, but concentrated grains tart. The flavor is not as strong as the nose or the front of the sip would suggest. In fact, it quickly leaves the palate behind.

M: The mouthfeel upfront is glorious in the bourbon revelry. The back end drops off too significantly, dragging the overall feel down.

D: The abv is too far to make this a go-to beer. If you like the punch of a bourbon aged beer, this is worth a visit. The bottle is not as powerful as I remember the growler being, but that could just be the passage of time.

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Photo of beertunes
3.72/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received this bottle as a gift from BA johnmichaelsen when he recently visited my fair town.

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a slightly hazy medium brown with a bit of a reddish tint. the beer poured very still, no head at all, with just a couple whisps of lacing.

A very sweet, caramel flavor enters the nose. Behind the caramel is a touch of earthy malt and a hint of spiciness. The initial taste is sweet backed by a wallop of alcohol. After the first rush the other flavors become apparent, caramel, peat, spice and a touch of hops.

The body does a nice job of coating the tongue and satisfying the tactile sense without being heavy or overly sticky. Drinkability is very good, however at 10% and the sweet caramel aspects of this beer, I probably wouldn't have more than one at a time.

Overall, a very good beer that I enjoyed a lot. If this were more readily available to me, it would be in my regular rotation. Thanks again, John!

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

I got this bottle as an extra in a trade with hoppymeal. Thanks Derek!

This pours from 12oz bottle a clear deep amber with a 2 finger head of off white foam. Lots of lacing and the foam just doesn't want to quit. Nice.

The smell isn't strong but I get good notes of carame and roasted malt.

The taste is a malty delight! Big caramel malt up front with notes of bourbon(done very nicely), chocolate, fig, and when I swish the beer in my mouth, I notice that it's very (dark) fruity. D licious. The alcohol is hidden pretty well with just some warming after the swallow. It borders on sweet but there's some burnt flavour there that adds just enough bitterness to balance the flavours. Very nice and it has a medium mouthfeel and it finishes with a slightly woody flavour. This is some good stuff!

Thanks again, Derek!!

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

on tap at sams in Durham. 2011 version poured in 2013, into a shaker.

dark brown, nice head. the aroma is MASSIVE on chocolate, marshmellows and bourbon. its amazing. taste isn't quite as amazing, good bourbon flavor with a tad of sour/tartness. interesting. its got quite a mellow and smooth flavor. aging has done this nicely. full bodied for sure, sipper.

overall excellent. loved it.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.98/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle received in trade with iguenard - thanks!

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a good size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fantastic lacing. The head lasted for around 5-6 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, leather/earthy

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, sweet butterscotch+caramel, and dark fruits. There is also woody/boozy notes and a hint of vanilla.

Overall - A little disappointed with the mouthfeel, but the scent is fantastic. For such a full bodied beer it's a shame that it comes across as a little watery. The taste is solid and the alcohol is well hidden. Good stuff and I'm looking forward to trying the 2013 bottles.

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Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
4.25 out of 5 based on 7,771 ratings.
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