Founders – Backwoods Bastard

Tasting: October 14, 2011
Style: Ale

Another barrel-aged offering from Founders. The label describes it as an ale aged in oak bourbon barrels. The use of bourbon barrels is a hot trend in beer — in particular with stouts. As a matter of fact this one is the first one I’ve had that wasn’t a stout. The barrels lend a vanilla, woodsy quality you might find in a bourbon. This one checks in with a big time alcohol by volume (ABV) at 10.2%. The IBU checks in at a moderate 50. To achieve those numbers, this ale is malt heavy. Malt lends sugar for the yeast to eat. Yeast turns sugar into alcohol and create carbonation. Of course, some yeasts can create more carbonation and ABV than others. There’s yeast for wine – no carbonation and there’s champagne yeast – lots of carbonation.

Very cool label. Pictures a very old woodsman, presumably from a place like the deep woods of whiskey country. Although characters like this are everywhere. Growing up in West Milford, NJ – There are quite a few people that look like this guy.

This one pours a dark root beer color with little to no head. A quick swirl in my oversized cognac glass stirs up some amazing aromas. I can definitely get some alcohol, oak and sweetness. My first sip is just wow. You definitely get a liquor shining through here. I’d call it more of a scotch influence. This is really malty and complex. You can easily pick out molasses, oak, a little prune, vanilla and a decently strong alcohol sting that you’d expect from a liquor. This one is definitely a sipper and I’ve sipped my way through this whole bottle in no time at all. This one is the perfect beer to enjoy on a fall evening. If you want some, I’d suggest heading out to a good beer store as this one is only available in late October early November. As other Founders annuals — it flies off the shelves. I’ll spot this one at 94 points.

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