Beer Reviews – Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown and Backwoods Bastard

On today’s installment of my beer reviews we are going to take a look at two big beers from our friends at Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You’re going to want to stay tuned for these reviews, because they really are something special!

Sumatra Mountain Brown

Sumatra Mountain Brown is an American Imperial Brown Ale brewed with Sumatran coffee. It weighs in at 9% ABV, 40 IBU and an unspecified gravity rating.

The pour is a deep chestnut brown color with just a few streaks of red when held to the light. A frothy tan head tops the glass that recedes slowly. Aromas of fresh roast coffee, caramel, cream and a bit of an alcoholic astringency. Big coffee flavors up front, supported by a backbone of caramel and milk chocolate. There’s a hint of a roasty quality to it as well as a substantial piney hop finish. A little bit of a burn going down. Thick body and medium carbonation but very easy drinking.

A big, bold beer with a coffee attitude. If you love beer and you love coffee you’re going to absolutely dig this. It would pair well with a variety of cigars. I paired with a JNV Barberpole for a great experience; will double down on the Sumatran qualities next time with a Hiram and Solomon Traveling Man or a Rocky Patel Royale (I love Sumatran tobacco too!). Rating: 4.5/5.

Backwoods Bastard

Funny redneck-ish name aside, this beer is anything but redneck. Oh no, not that – it’s all class and sophistication. This is a Scotch Ale aged in Bourbon Barrels – we’re talking whisk(e)y to the max. ABV predictably fluctuates somewhere in a hefty 10-12% ABV range and 50 IBU – rather heavy for a Scotch Ale. The gravity rating is not specified.

Pours a clear, deep, dark maroon color with a creamy tan head that recedes to a thin ring and laces the glass like crazy. Aromas of bourbon, caramel, peat and plum tantalize the nose up front. Palate follows the nose but much more complex, starting with a backbone of caramel and plum supported by notes of dark chocolate, coffee, smoke, peat and an ever so slight tinge of vanilla and banana. The body flavors were very much like a single-malt Scotch (note: Scotch Ales are basically Scotch Whiskies prior to distillation). The back end features and ample grapefruit hop bitterness and a warming, substantial, oaky bourbon finish. Thick syrupy body with low carbonation. A bit too rough to chug but a smooth sipper that will keep you coming back for more, but you sure feel it stick to your ribs at a whopping 350 calories/bottle!!!!

What an absolute treat. Bold, complex and sophisticated. Pair this with a full-bodied cigar such as a Padron 1926, CO Final Third, Marrero Fuerte and the like. This one definitely gets top marks at a 5/5 rating.

If you haven’t tried the topics for today’s beer reviews get on it. You’re doing yourself a major disservice if you don’t. Founders puts out some amazing products and these are no exception.


One thought on “Beer Reviews – Founders Sumatra Mountain Brown and Backwoods Bastard

  1. Mountain Brown sounds perfect, Backwoods Bastard not so much. For my tastes anyway. I’m not a big scotch fan anyway, so it makes sense.
    I really like how the coffee roasters and the microbreweries are getting together. Yummy things happen.


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