Founders Dirty Bastard – 8.5% ABV
Founders is a brewery located in Grand Rapids, MI and they have been pumping out some stellar selections for as long as I can remember. Every flavor I’ve had has been impressive. I’ve had the pleasure of tasting many of Founders beers, some particular of note, yet hard for the masses to grab – CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout – good luck trying to get that one if you live outside of MI), KBS (Kentucky Bourbon Stout – another unicorn, almost impossible to find) and their Imperial Stout. Their Backwoods Bastard is sort of a variation of this one, yet stronger and more complex, and it blew my mind. It currently stands one of my favorite beers, that’s how impressed I was. But that is for another review. This one I first had quite some time ago, but stowed away my notes for a rainy day. Well, it’s pouring outside and I feel compelled to give you a good learnin’. So without further adieu, let’s chat about this one – Founders Dirty Bastard.
This beer is classified as a Wee Heavy, or Scotch Ale. It clocks in at 8.5% ABV and believe me, you will notice it. It’s an interesting style, because if you’ve ever had a Scotch Ale, you may or may not understand that this beer is different from a Scottish Ale. Scotch Ales/Wee Heavy’s have a stronger, fuller body to them, they are generally sweeter and the malty flavor is much more pronounced. There can be some lasting bitterness at the end, but only enough to balance the dark malts you get up front. They are also stronger in alcohol content than a Scottish Ale. If you’ve never had a Scottish Ale and therefore no basis for comparison, then get your tail out to the liquor store and pick some up. For educational purposes, of course.
This particular take on a Scotch Ale was pretty solid (I have yet to find a Founders beer I don’t like). It pours a nice thick deep amber/copper color which borders on brown. The head that is produced is thick and beige, but it fades into obscurity quickly. The aroma is pronounced, giving you a nice blend of bread, caramel, dark fruit, and scotch. There is very little lacing to be accounted for as you go through this, but worry not. The flavor is something you’ll take notice of.
Take a sip of this and let the flavors go to work. What do you get? A veritable cornucopia of goodness with caramel, dark fruit and toffee as the medal winners. The caramel and toffee flavors are what hit the palate first, along with some smoky notes. There is a bit of raisin that comes out the there as well, adding depth to the initial taste. Very nice. The finish that comes through is of bitter dark chocolate, like a kid sneaking in the back door of the house past curfew. Apparently that kid (bitterness) knows how to sneak back in the house undetected, because the bitterness is barely noticeable, mainly there to balance out the heavy malt profile.
I liked this one the first time around, but had to go back for more. Like I said, my notes were collecting dust and my palate needed a bit of reminding as to what I took out of the experience. Remember what I’ve said before – Having one good beer doesn’t mean it will be as good the second time around. Invest in buying more than one, just so you can properly educate yourself. This is a thick and rich brew, with a pretty heavy body. The malty sweetness comes on pretty strong and the alcohol makes its presence known, with a little touch of dry bitterness at the end. Prepare to be overwhelmed if you underestimate this one.