Libation Review: Backwoods Bastard by Founders Brewing

  • BackwoodsBastard112 oz bottle
  • $4.00
  • Purchased at Chattanooga Wine & Spirits


Somewhere under the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, beer is currently being aged in thousands of used Bourbon barrels. Founders Brewing started small with their barrel-aged series, but they’ve grown their capacity until they have a whole series of barrel-aged beer products. The original was KBS…Kentucky Breakfast Stout…but my introduction to the series came when my co-worker, KJ, came into the shop one day and said that Chattanooga Wine & Spirits had Backwoods Bastard available.

I didn’t even know what it was, but he let me know…basically, Founders Brewing takes their Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale and barrel ages it. Dirty Bastard is 8.5% ABV and available year-round. The imported malts give it a rich sweetness while it has enough hops to raise the IBU to 50. After barrel aging, Backwoods Bastard is bottled at 11.2% ABV (and the same IBU rating).

This stuff is made in limited quantities and sells out fast. KJ told me on a Thursday afternoon; I decided I didn’t feel like heading over there that evening after work so I waited until the next day. By Friday at 10:15, they had sold their entire allotment of 4-packs and had just 3 single bottles left. I bought two and left the last one for some other lucky soul.


As opposed to my normal habit of pairing a beer with a cigar, this time around, I elected to just enjoy the beer by itself. I’ll recommend some cigars that I believe would go well, though.

Pouring the Backwoods Bastard into a glass, I noted that this beer is almost as dark as a stout or porter. If lighting is right, you can see the true dark, dark red color of the beer as you pour it, and maybe if the light is behind the full glass. But for the most part, when the glass is full, it looks like you’re drinking a Guinness.

The smell of the beer was oaky and malty. The first sip tasted of vanilla, malt and dark fruit. Someone described this beer as “boozy” and I can definitely attest to that. With the ABV above 11% it definitely packs a punch.

I liked this beer a lot. It’s one I would repeat frequently if I could get it readily. I would pair this with a full-bodied, heavy-weight cigar, maybe a Padron 1926 No 90 Maduro or Tatuaje Avion 13 Reserva.

If you can still find this beer in your neighborhood…get it now. If not, watch carefully for it next November, as it seems to be a once-a-year release.

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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  • Sam C.

    As of 2018 it’s now year round.