Backwoods Bastard

Founders: Backwoods Bastard (USA: Scotch Ale: 10.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark cherry red. Moderate off white to brown head.

Nose: Shortbread. Malt chocolate. Custard slice. White wine. Alcohol soaked raisins and fruitcake. Spirity.

Body: Sherbet lemon. Toffee and vanilla. Shortbread. Rum soaked sultanas. Lime notes. Smooth. Aniseed. Red grapes. Chocolate liquore. Slight chalk.

Finish: Red grapes. Aniseed. Liquorice toffee and treacle toffee. Vanilla and bourbon. Touch of charring. Lemon meringue. Slight sour notes. Chocolate.

Conclusion: I like how the imagery and the beer itself match together here. The dark and slight rough edged notes, the hidden hints of illicit bourbon, the charming off kilter elements. It all brings to mind sheltered backwoods and their distilling inhabitants. Even the look of the beer has that dark and depth filled style. On and the fact it is a good beer is important as well.

The rough cut bourbon notes take a few moments to seek out, but are obvious when found, from the vanilla notes to the less often seen in barrel ageing expression of spicy notes in the form of aniseed. More than that it has a distinctive bourbon character feel and air, it really does show the oak ageing well.

This actually works brilliantly to offset the usual complaints I have with scotch ales. The base beer is smoothed out and give up cleanly its raisin and cherry notes. The dark fruit is offset by a light sherbet touch that adds fresh lemon and lime notes. It turns what can be often a one notes style and turns it into something expressive, indulgent and varied.

The odd thing is, you can see a lot of Dirty Bastard in here. But while I didn’t rate that, this gets all the elements just right. The mix of old ale to scotch ale feel of Dirty Bastard is smoothed so to work better together here with the sweetness matched with the bourbon spice. It all just hangs together so much better.

Very impressive, even more so for not being in what would usually be a favoured style.

Background: I’m not sure, I dislike the word Bitch, but am perfectly fine with the word Bastard. Does that make me a hypocrite or just aware of context? Anyway, I found this at independent spirit, and decided to grab it for a try. This, best I know, is basically a bourbon aged version of Dirty Bastard. Despite not being the biggest fan of Dirty Bastard, I had enough trust in Founders to give it a go. Drunk while listening to my entire music collection and posting the results to facebook. No matter how embarrassing. I must have been drunk.