1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

953 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 953
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 422
Gots: 373 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 953 | Reviews: 231
Photo of floridadrift
5/5  rDev +16%

Very, very special.

Thick, with little white beads all through out the ale, sweet, sweet and boozy. Absolutely perfect. RIP

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Bottle: Poured a hazy light dirty brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet sugary notes with some vanilla and bourbon notes clearly identifiable. Taste is a mix of heavy caramelized malt notes with quite a dose of residual sugars and molasses with some vanilla and bourbon also noticeable. Body is quite full with medium carbonation with some wearing alcohol easily identifiable. Interesting experience for sure but maybe a bit too sweet for my taste.

Photo of yarnbomb
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Sexy. Delicious. Aggressive. Had several fresh bottles and aged a bottle for my anniversary (I'm the curmudgeon, he's the better half). Wish I could have some more.

Photo of memphischas
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Two years old. Almost a mead, getting lots of honey and sorghum

Photo of wedge
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%

@ Sam’s

Getting one of the last pours, my glass was on the murky side, but still retained an attractive creamy froth on top. Interesting mélange of aromas: bourbon barrel, coconut, warm toasty malts, vanilla, caramel, maple, fruit esters, and licorice. Surprisingly smooth, even flavor that stays out of cloying territory. Only a slight maple presence ties things together…bourbon, tea, figs, dates, and a surprising green sort of character that’s hard to pin down. Smooth and chewy, drying out into the finish. I think this must be in its sweet spot right now. No overt booziness, super smooth and even flavors, just a very pleasant experience all around. I only wish I got there a half hour earlier so I didn’t get the last glass, but I’m just glad I got to try it.

Photo of Phoodcritic
5/5  rDev +16%

I enjoyed this beer on tap at Founders in 2012. Simply sublime. Perfect. It was the most delicious and complex beverage I have ever consumed...and I have tried virtually everything Founders has produced in the last three years.

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a crystal clear deep amber color with a one finger head of off white foam. The head fades rather fast leaving a great level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass. The thick body of the brew is foreshadowed by swirling the brew in the glass, as one can see thick fingers of liquid clinging to the sides with them very slowly settling back to the bottom of the snifter.

Smell – A big caramel aroma is present in the nose with other sweet smells of vanilla and toffee. Some maple syrup and darker fruits aromas are present as well, upping the sweetness of the brews aroma. Along with the big sugary sweet smells comes along plenty of “hot” boozy smells with a strong bourbon and woody smell.

Taste – The taste begins just as the nose would have suggested; with a big sweet caramel flavor. Right from start there is also a maple syrup flavor as well as some bready tastes. Some darker fruit flavors of raisin and plum with some other roasted malt taste also quickly come to the tongue with the mix of flavors largely acting as a base for the brew. As the flavor advances from the initial, it gains a bit of butterinesss with the caramel transitioning to a toffee flavor to some extent. Boozy flavors of a rum like nature start coming to the tongue more toward the middle of the taste, starting out lighter, but by the end of the taste growing rather strong. Other flavors of a more woody and oaky nature really pick it up toward the end of the taste, and with a surge of the maple syrup and a light bourbon flavor joining the rum, one is left with a very warming and rather sweet flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thicker and sticky with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both are very nice for the sugary sweet (caramel, toffee, maple syrup) and boozy flavor of the brew and make for a very nice slow sipper.

Overall – A robustly sweet and very tasty beer indeed. Tons of sugary tastes with a moderate dose of booze present as well, but yet still managing to maintain a decent balance for the style.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on this long time personal whale. Just did a side by side of a 1 year and fresh curmudgeon old ale so ready for this one too.

Appearance: a darkish ruby color. great clarity and not as darkened in color as the year old curmudgeon. great brightness when held up to the light. about a finger of a tannish head that fades quickly. I was surprised to see that much foam at all. quite a bit of sediment at the bottom, darkens and leaves some floaties.

Smell: very sweet, lots of various flavors. molasses, vanilla, maple, smaller hints of bourbon and oak. also dark fruits, plums and figs. extremely complex and dominated by the sweeter molasses and vanilla.

Taste: when i first opened this (at cellar temp) it was still too cold to get all the nuances, especially the maple, so enjoy this on the warm side. opens up similarly to the old curmudgeon, with some molasses and dark fruits. but opens up with vanilla and a strong maple syrup taste, really surprised to find it still so strong. lots of complexity in this, sometimes i get sweet and dark crystal malts, other times i get the adjunct and the products of the barrel. rarely do i get bourbon or alcohol.

Mouthfeel: heavy, creamy, very sticky and chewy. some alcohol bitterness but never astringent.

Overall: at first I was not impressed but as it warmed up and I caught the nuances of this beer I became very impressed. love the sweetness and maple flavors. I wish i got to taste this fresh but the flavors are still strong and there. Overall I'd rate this first followed by 1 year curmudgeon and then fresh. that said all are tasty and worth while. another great founders backstage beer

Photo of Jjski
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A sought after "whale" for me, obtained through a transaction involving an offshore bank which delivered a briefcase full of cash in $1 dollar bills.

It was consumed in my remote adirondack outpost, while the wood stove provided sufficient warmth to allow me to don a thin layer of thermal underwear

Presumably cellared properly by the previous owner in the Witness Protection Program

A- dark amber, two finger head. Particulate matter, which seems a bit soon for this vintage

S-alcohol, orange rind, figs, malty sticky sweetness

T-bourbon sweet malty, touch of leather , a candied orange wedge in her clenched teeth. Whip in hand.

M- smooth, evervescent, small burning on my palate as she forces me submit.

O- very good, but wish it was more. I probably missed the maple barrel taste and the brew has not reached historic status yet. Perhaps I should have waited, but as the Better Half's whip is not so gently applied to my m cerebral cortex, I give in. I had a well aged Curmudgeon that was probably equally good. Sometimes the search for a whale ends quietly.

Photo of thecheapies
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The initial pour looked a deep brownish-red with awesome clarity. Topping the beer off added lots of chunky sediment and broken-up yeast cake and really clouded the beer. The head that collected is a half moon of coarse bubbles. They haven't popped yet.

I'm waiting for CBH to warm up, but I'm getting a starter waft of fresh fennel and dry caramel. As it slowly warms, one can pick up on maple, barrel wood, English malt, licorice root, milk chocolate, molasses, and faint whiskey. An aged old ale, in the nose, with featured notes of barrel complexity.

Firmly steeped in molasses (not without bitterness), maple, licorice, bourbon, light roastiness, figgy fruits, caramel brittle, date, fennel, herbal elixiry sweetness, and some bitterness in the tailend. Amazingly complex. I feel like this beer probably dried up a little, too, but I can't know for sure. Has a grand appeal. The fennel/licorice presence in the flavor is really intense. Almost as much dried fruit as there is caramel. Atypical ale. Nothing like I've ever had before.

Full-bodied with light tackiness on the lips. Soft carbonation. Nothing even close to 11.9% represented here. Mellowed beautifully.

I wasn't expecting this kind of flavor profile evolution. I assume this has strayed from what it was, which I would've greatly enjoyed. But, I still love what it has become. Adventurous beer that I purchased already aged. Too fun.

Photo of Stevedore
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, generously shared by Eric at a pre-4elf bottleshare today, 12/14/2013. Poured probably 6oz into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass. Thanks a lot buddy, hope you found that hot blonde...

Pours a thick and viscous but clear amber body, fairly decent but not close to a finger's worth of white head, retention is decent. Becomes a fairly placid brew with a thin film on top, no collar. Not much lacing to be found. Really, I think the labeling makes me perceive this as maple syrup in appearance.

Smells nice and sweet- similar to Sweet Repute really. Very caramelly and toffee heavy with a decent dose of maple syrup sweetness. Very sweet and not particularly hoppy or anything like that. Its a one note beer that really stands out. Love that maple syrup booziness.

Same as the nose- very tasty, very sweet and caramel forward with a nice complementary maple flavour. Its quite boozy actually, which I would have figured to go away with a year plus on it, but I guess not- never had it fresh so I don't know. In any case, it's very sweet but not in a cloying way. It's probably better fresh.

Thick, viscous and full-bodied. Carbonation is a bit low, but this is still an enjoyable sipper. Running a bit hot as mentioned before. Not bitter at all- very nice and caramel-forward with complementary toffee and maple notes on the backend.

Such a sweet beer, makes me wonder if that's a Founders thing. In any case, I think this was a nice treatment of Old Curmudgeon that still worked out even all this time later.

Photo of bound4er
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Cloudy, amber appearance with some noticeable floating pieces of gunk. Off white, fast breaking head.

S. Barrel influences of oak, vanilla, caramel, spice and pitted fruit. Very nice.

T. Potent stuff - oak, vanilla, caramel malt, alcohol - everything you'd expect from a barrel aged old ale. Finishes with a cherry infused, lingering bitterness.

M. Medium body with minimal carbonation. I would have liked a little more mouthfeel from this beer.

O. This is a strong effort from Founders though I am not a big fan of this style beer.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

so much flavor in this beauty from founders, the reigning king of huge brews. this takes the best features of the old ale, the molasses, the warming quality, and the depth of the malt bill, and amplifies it enormously. the bourbon does its typical thing, charcoal and vanilla and sweet booze, predictable. what isn't predictable here is the maple aspect. no I may personally be extremely partial to anything maple, but what it does to this beer is divine, that thin distinctive sugary flavor that is so unique really melds with the molasses flavors of the old ale and the vanilla from the bourbon. it is hotly alcoholic though, which hurts it for me, I want to pound on this and I cant or I will fall asleep or worse. still, its nicely carbonated and feels lighter than it is. classic depth of flavor, especially the maple, it adds an entirely different vibe to what was already a very good beer. this needs to be copied by other brewers, there is a lesson to be learned from this. its a landmark beer really. I could see it aging longer and improving further too.

Photo of MusicaleMike
3.81/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful clear amber color, but with only a minimal, frothy peach colored head that dies away after a few minutes and leaves nothing but sporadic scars of lacing on the side of the glass. Appears a bit lifeless.

The aroma is a wonderful mix of sweet caramel, maple, vanilla, booze, fig pudding.

CBH washes over the palate with an ease not often seen in beers over 11% abv. This beer is a sweet mixture of caramel, maple, bourbon, and booze soaked vanilla beans. This is punctuated by a alcoholic maple-figgy-bourbon quality on the exhale and aftertaste. There is only a subtle lingering bitterness....almost zero hop presence here. Dominated by the malts.

Thick, lame carbonation, and a bit oily. No heat though, and for a beer that is 11.9% and somehow eliminates the burn of raw alcohol, I am impressed.

Founders does such an amazing job of integrating barrel-aging with thier beers and somehow not making it a hot mess. This is not the most successful, but I think it was completely enjoyable, and for sure I would want to drink this again.

Photo of Rinkor16
4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Opened 9/1/13 with 2 buddies and my brother while we were brewing.

A: A dark caramel color. Very little head.

S: Tons of aroma! Caramel, oak and lots of bourbon.

T: I expected the taste to be HUGE. I was very pleased to find that it was much more mellow than the aroma led on. Oak, caramel, brown sugar and a nice buttery taste with a hint of bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

O: Damn. I'd drink that for breakfast. Very smooth and the alcohol is almost impossible to taste. I would definitely trade for this beer again.

Photo of dar482
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a deep dark ruby red that is clear.

The aroma is just huge. There's oak chips, vanilla, tons of sweet caramel, some honey, brown sugar. The bourbon really shines through with some alcohol in there.

The flavor follows with lots of oak, wood, bourbon, and vanilla character. There's then that smooth mellow sweetness. It's so delicious with that smooth caramel, molasses, brown sugar sweetness that rolls around the tongue. It's almost like sipping on a sherry with the sweetness and big booze character.

Then follows still with that tinge of bitterness and alcohol that triggers to clean off the palate. It's great that the bitterness is still in this big sweet beer.

The body is medium to heavy, though not too large.

This beer is one of the best examples of what barrel aging can do to a beer. It completely lifts the original beer to another level. The barrel character is huge and defines what bourbon barrels do.

I thankfully had this next to Old Curmudgeon. What the barrel does to this is incredible. With the huge aroma and the mellowing out of flavors, yet still with the bitterness, the barrel makes this beer exceptional to world class.

Photo of raleigh_blue
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

10 oz pour into improper glass (pint glass). I was just happy to try the Kaiser. Cloudy with some residual sediments in the pour. I was one of the first to order this and also had it mid-way through the sixtel so i suppose after sitting a few years this was typical. Deep amber color.

Smell: Boozy caramel and vanilla. Taking in a full waft of this made my mouth water.

Taste: Boozy caramel, bourbon and vanilla. Super sweet, but I love it. Tastes like a caramel apple without the apple.

Mouthfeel: Thick and coating. Like chocolate milk with caramel/vanilla instead of chocolate.

Overall: If you happen to see it, by all means drink it. Outstanding by every measure.

Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on draft at sams in Durham. shaker.

pours a reddish brown with a slight head. smell is of booze and caramel. very strong. taste is boozy, a tad sweet with the caramel and very full bodied. its a big boozy beer.

overall , drink this slow as its definitely a sipper. I had it 2 yrs old on tap and it was still extremely boozy. be prepared.

Photo of kalifornsky
4.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: dark caramel, light light tan head

S: perfect amout of bourbon and sweetness.

T: the perfect amout of sweet bourbon. No bitterness.

F: a light chewiness. Not overly sticky. Lingers for a few moments.

O: one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm lucky to try this beer from the past!

Photo of zac16125
3.91/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750mL bottle into a snifter

A big thanks to coreyfmcdonald for sending this one over in a trade!

A: Pours a dark copper brown. Its opaque with a small amount of sedimentation suspended in the glass and just over 1 fingers width of light tan head, which dissipates down fairly quickly and leaves effectively zero lacing.

S: Sweet, almost tart, anise, apple. I don't really get much bourbon or maple, actually more similar to an apple brandy barrel. Really unique aroma, but not that great honestly, and not very Old Ale ish.

T: There is a unique almost tart quality up front, which is alright, but then its followed by some really great flavors including a sugary sweetness, bourbon, maple syrup, molasses, oak, toffee. Its fairly boozy, but not in a bad way. I also get some citrus type characters, and nutmeg. Again, this is very unique. Theres a lot going on here, its quite complex, but its missing a lot of the typical old ale qualities that I really enjoy and look for in the style. Maple syrup builds as it warms, bourbon barrel remains fairly faint though.

M/D: Full bodied, very low carbonation but that is appropriate, slightly syrupy (pun intended), ABV is certainly noticeable. All things considered though, drinkability is pretty good. Personally I like the low carbonation and syrupy quality that allows it to drink almost like a spirit.

O: Overall, Im pretty disappointed. Don't get me wrong, its a good beer for sure, it just didnt live up to expectations and IMO its not to style. I would definitely drink this again if offered to me, but I dont plan to seek out another botttle.

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A -pours a rusty copper color similar to melted caramel. Pour does not yield any foam.

S - the nose is deep, sweet and oak forward. lots of buttery notes play off sweet grains creating aromas reminiscent of buttered bread or pancakes. Maple syrup notes add the sweetness. as it warms grape-y notes come forth adding a congac style flavor.

T -oaky and buttery up front. Reminiscent of a California chardonnay. There is a slight bit of boozy quality which settles into a cognac flavor in the center. Hints of grapes and pears as well. A refreshing hit of Peppermint on the finish.

M - medium bodied but nearing full. straddling a line between Creamy and watery texture. Medium carbonation.

O - a very complex and nuanced beer. much better than i had expected. very good stuff.

Photo of dbossman
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Tawny caramel hue with a thin film of a head and okay lacing considering the style

S: A lot of anise and bourbon and oak and maple syrup; this is boozy and malty and sweet and I cannot wait

T: This is brilliant: dark fruits, maple, anise, oak, bourbon, damn this is so so good

F: Creamy, medium body--such a good mouth feel

O: This is so damn good: bourbon in the finish and a ton of maple and just a bit of anise which strangely brings it together; God, I really love this

Photo of BMMillsy
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from burg. Thanks! Pours a hazy dark reddish brown with minimal cream colored head. Big bourbon maple vanilla aroma, some interesting spice notes, and sweet sweet malt. Flavor follows with a sweet vanilla maple and very subdued bourbon. Again an unexpected spicy kick toward the end here. This seems to have held up well (though did not have it fresh). Very smooth with a nice alcohol warmth. Medium low carbonation, and really drinks like a barley wine. This is excellent, despite not being a huge fan of the regular curmudgeon. I would probably take this over Sucaba. Yum. Now I just need to find a Blushing Monk to complete the set!

Photo of Spaten454
4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: it pours a burnt orange color with a small head that dissipates quickly. nice lacing. I had a lot of sediment in my pour.

S: Maple syrup, then bourbon. heaven. It smells exactly as you would think. everything blends together perfectly.

T: maple sweetness up front followed by a light bourbon in the end. Hints of caramel. nothing is overpowering. every flavor compliments the other. its not over sweet at all and the maple is fantastic.

M: Totally smooth, kinda slick like syrup. light carbonation. kinda coats the mouth.

O: Just a great beer. Def worth trying to score a bottle.

Photo of yadehtsiyadot
4.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This forest is immensely dense. Foilage brushes against my legs as I make my way inward. I am at peace in this place. Light from beyond gleams through the trees, enveloping every blade of grass and every loose stick.

"This way", I hear a voice from the distance. Following it, I come across a great old maple tree. "What do you wish of me?" I question. "Share what I create by drinking from me", the old tree replies.

Reaching into my boot, I extract my pocket knife. Gently impaling the bark of the living wood, I open a prosperous floodgate. Scents of bourbon and maple encompass the forest. Pouring from the puncture is a beautiful, brown liquid.

"What is this?", I ponder. Reading my thoughts, the great maple replies, "This is you". "But I am me", I argue. "How can this be?" The old tree continues, "You are everything. But you divide yourself. You cut yourself in half, then quarters, then eigths, sixteenths, etc...forgetting what you truly are".

Confused, I bend down and take a gulp of the nectar. Everything is understood. This is me. This is my Better Half.

to view more.
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 953 ratings.