There are so many barrel aged brews out there. Some are subtle, some are so strong they might as well be what was actually fermented in the barrel. I tend prefer the brews that lean toward the lighter side; I like my beer to taste a little something like beer.
Backwoods Bastard by Founders is one of those beers. It is a bourbon barrel aged scotch ale.
Before I get to the beer I love the snarky, sideways look of the crotchety bastard on the label. I wouldn't want to be caught in that gaze!
Now to the beer.
Backwoods Bastard (10.2%) ABV pours a foggy orangy-red brown. It has almost no head to speak of; even with a very aggressive pour. All that alcohol kills the bubbles!
The aroma is malt and bourbon with softer hints of brown sugar and dried fruit.
The taste is big time malty and there is no denying the barrel aging. The bourbon is up front and center. Other flavors that tease the taste buds are sweet dried fruit, vanilla, some spiciness, and of course oak. This is a sweet beer but it's not sticky sweet, more like a brandy-ish boozy kind of sweet. The finish is smooth and warm. This brew gives a warm feeling all the way down to your belly.
The mouth feel is medium and nicely carbonated.
This is a pretty good barrel aged beer. The bourbon doesn't overpower the beer and adds nice character.
Overall: very good.