This is a first review in a long time. I scored a few bottles of Backwoods Bastard a couple of weeks ago and decided to have it today. Backwoods Bastard is Founders Dirty Bastard aged in oak bourbon barrels and offered as an annual limited November release.
It pours darker than a brown ale but not completely opaque. It is heavy on the charred-oak smell and the taste of wood is prevalent. A friend described it as “very bourbon-ey,” and I can’t find any other word for it. It’s a mouth full of bourbon without the burn. I can detect the sweet malts and a hint of chocolate, but the woodiness is almost overpowering.
At 10.2% ABV, Backwoods Bastard is beyond a session ale; the palate just can’t take the beating from the oak and alcohol. The 50 IBU comes from some hops, but they are also smothered by the redneck whiskey.
I must say it’s hard for me to appreciate, but if you like bourbon and the sweet taste lent to the beverage from the oak barrel, this one may be for you. I do believe I have enough of it to keep for next year and compare it to 2014’s batch. Wouldn’t that be something!
For what it’s worth, I’d still drink it again – but just one at a time. It’s not a bad ale, just perhaps woodier than I expected. I believe the last scotch ale I had was Monday Night’s Drafty Kilt, which I remember as being very heavy and sticky, with a highly alcoholic finish. Backwoods Bastard isn’t as sticky or thick, but still finishes alcoholic with a lot of wood. We’ll see if Founders changes the algorithm next year, and I won’t fault them if they don’t. The name says it all – it tastes like it might belong in the trunk of a car headed down the mountain at night with no lights on…