Normally, a strong ale aged in bourbon barrels wouldn’t be on my short list, but Schneidermike (or is it BelchingMonkey) speaks so highly of Backwoods Bastard that I had to give it a try.
At 10.2 ABV this beer is not to be taken lightly. As Matt A. pointed out when I mentioned I was drinking it, “that’s all you’re going to need tonight.” Maybe it goes without saying.. this is a sipping beer.
It pours dark and hazy with a thick head that clings to the glass and sticks around for a looooong time. The lacing on the glass is impressive.
It smells like someone washed the glass in bourbon before they poured in the beer. If you’re drinking this, you’d better like bourbon (I do).
The first taste is wild… very heavy bourbon and boozy. There’s just no hiding the alcohol in this one. The malt is hiding back there; it’s actually hard to distinguish through the bourbon. On my palate the hops couldn’t find their way through, but I know they’re in there.
So, what did I think of it? I love bourbon and I love beer, but I couldn’t embrace the Backwoods Bastard. I couldn’t get past the bourbon. This is a beer that challenges and questions your notions ofwhat beer is or should be. Maybe I’m not up for the challenge or perhaps they took it a little too far?
What do you think? What are your notes on this beer?