Monday, December 21, 2015

Founders Backwoods Bastard

4.6
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20Chad9976 (1521) - Orlando, Florida, USA - DEC 21, 2015
Scotch Ales tend to be big, but Founders Backwoods Bastard may be the biggest of them all. Weighing in at 11.6% ABV (the 2015 edition, that is) and aged in bourbon barrels; it’s safe to say this is a beastly brew. Though for such a behemoth, it’s remarkably tame. The palette is delicious and the deliver is smooth and warming. In a world obsessed with imperial stouts and IPAs, this is a hidden gem in your beer store.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 9/26/15 and cost $4.39 ($0.37 per ounce).

Appearance: Gorgeous cherry red hue; looks almost like red wine. Body is fairly clear but dark. Initially pours to a large, dark tan, foamy head but it mostly fades and leaves only minor lacing.

Smell: Lovely sweetness of maraschino cherries and bourbon. There’s a strong malt presence as well. Alcohol is noticeable, but not distracting.

Taste: Every once in a while I’ll have a beer from a style I don’t usually think of as being among my favorites and it’ll amaze me. This is one of those beers. The palette is simply delicious: sweet to be sure, but nothing artificial or even remotely cloying about it. Much like the nose, the taste is largely dark fruit: rum-soaked raisin, cherries and figs along with confectionery sweetness of caramel and toffee. The bourbon emerges on the finish in the form of both a sweet, oaky, vanilla sensation as well as alcohol. Though not especially bitter, it doesn’t come off as unbalanced or hot. This may be the best Scotch Ale I’ve ever had, though it might also be considered an Old Ale since it’s aged in bourbon barrels. Perhaps it’s the best of both worlds?

Drinkability: There’s no such thing as cold winter’s night here in Florida, but Founders Backwoods Bastard definitely is the kind of brew I’d recommend for an evening of staying in. The 11.6% ABV potency is apparent, but subtle enough that it’s part of the natural presentation of the brew. Warm to be sure with a lingering sensation in the throat after the first few swigs. It eventually becomes a smooth, thick, and surprisingly clean-finishing sipper. I could’ve drank an entire bomber of this solo. Don’t pair this with anything – drink it on a clean palate and savor it.

RATING: 10/10