After Neil’s impressive performance on the Highland Trail 550, it seemed appropriate to review a beer that puts an American twist on a Scottish Ale. Backwoods Bastard is a big, heavy Scottish Ale aged in Bourbon barrels resulting in a complex and delicious beer.
The dark brown beer has shimmers of orange and deep, ruby red. The head is composed primarily of large bubbles and is slow to fade leaving a nice lacing on the glass. The pour releases a huge and conspicuous aroma with scents of molasses, vanilla, cherry, bourbon, and oak.
The beer’s body is medium and creamy, coating the tongue with flavor and giving plenty of time for the individual tastes to shine. Dark fruit flavors of fig, plum, and cherry first are noticed followed soon by a bit of tart apple on the sides of the tongue. At the same time that the apple is picked up by the sides of the tongue, the middle is tasting vanilla fading to a hint of oak. In a further transition, the beer definitely shows the influences of the bourbon barrel aging on the back of the tongue and in the aftertaste. In fact, these late flavors are more reminiscent of those of a smooth, sweet bourbon. A molasses sweetness on the tongue morphs to an aftertaste of vanilla and an alcohol burn accentuated by a hop bite. This slowly fades revealing lingering notes of molasses and dark chocolate.
This big beer is a sipper at 11.2%, but it is also quite refreshing even on a warm night. With many heavy beers of similar ABV, 12 ounces is almost too much. However, with Backwoods Bastard I found myself immediately craving more of this as I drank the last drop.
So even if warm weather is settling in, don’t deny yourself the pleasure of sipping one of these on a late spring evening. And just as no one can deny that Neil rocked that Scottish race, it’s also undisputable that Founders has made a damn fine Scottish Ale.
Aroma (complex and distinct)…9/10
Flavor (massive, intriguing, and multifaceted)…10/10
Style-Appropriateness (an American twist on a Scottish Ale)…8/10