Review of Founders Backwoods Bastard

04 Nov
For today’s craft beer review I, once again, am trying another beer from one of my favorite brewers.  I will be sipping on a Founders Backwoods Bastard generated by the Founders Brewing Company located in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Let’s jump right into the description from the website,

Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit.  It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate.

Let’s pour.

This brew comes in at a rather robust 10.2% ABV and it’s packaged in a 12 oz. bottle. 
The beer poured a brown to dark maroon color with some burnt orange highlights at the bottom of the wine glass.  The head was off white and relatively small.  It didn’t have much retention time and only traces of lace were left after the first few sips.  Overall, the beer looked predominately clear to me. 
The aroma certainly had the characteristics of Bourbon whiskey.  A very nice woody note combined with a pleasant burnt sugar, toffee, caramel malt smell.  It smelled a little like those brown sugar “hay stack” candies that I used to get as a kid.  I even noticed a small touch of chocolate and maybe a smidgen of sorghum.  This beer smelled wonderful.  It’s very complex, rich and robust. 
The flavor revealed the Bourbon whiskey once again along with a bit more of that sweetness from the brown sugar and caramel.  Very light savors of vanilla and maple syrup continued to aid my sweet tooth.  I swear it seemed like I was obtaining some sort of citrus too.  Like orange slices or something.  Who knows?  A small smattering of bitterness tickled the tongue and melded well with the “oaky” aspects.  I didn’t really find any of the “smoke” or dark fruit that was mentioned in the description, however I thought the excellent sugary sweetness clearly defined this beer.  The taste, much like the smell, was sturdy, rich and harmonized. 
The mouthfeel was medium to full with a significant alcohol burn and warmth.  A tremendous amount of flavor was left on the palate long after the sip had passed.  It was much smoother than one might think and it was nicely dry and chewy all the way through.  
I thought this beer was very, very nice.  Lots of kick combined with a wonderful aroma, taste and mouthfeel.  It’s most definitely a beer for sipping.  The alcohol is forthcoming, but it is, surprisingly, not distracting.  It’s very noticeable in the mouthfeel also, however it’s not unbearable.  I will say that the drinkability was not all that high.  After one of these I would probably be done for the evening.  Not for lack of enjoyment, but rather from the lack of alcohol tolerance.  With that being said, I would for sure pick this brew up and give it a test drive if you see it.  I don’t think that you will be disappointed.  
As always, let me know what you thought of the Founders Backwoods Bastard if you have tried it.  Also, thanks to everyone for reading and commenting on the reviews.  It’s a treat to interact with you.  Remember to follow me on Twitter (@BeerApprentice or @shrews824) and Google+ (Scott Shrewsberry) if you wish.  
Until next time. 
Score:  4.35 out of 5
Grade:  A 
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Posted by on November 4, 2011 in Country: USA, Founders


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