1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

928 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 928
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 403
Gots: 376 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.

(Beer added by: Jason on 01-09-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 928 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Reagan1984:
Photo of Reagan1984
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First had this at the night of the barrels liked it…
Wow, this time out of the bottle it’s fantastic.

A sudsy beige head forms and collapses fairly quickly. A decent amount of suds cling to the glass. A nice deep amber/brown color.

Maple, wood, sweetness and a thick malt aroma. If any bourbon, it’s very subtle.

Flavor is wonderful. Lot’s going on. Maple, vanilla, rounded light bourbon, definitely some wood. A lovely sweetness and at the end you can get a bit of molasses… almost a burnt sugar flavor. More vanilla and bourbon in the aftertaste. The lingering flavor in this beer is a definite highlight.

Mouth feel is a potential highlight. So soft, rounded and yet substantial.

I am so glad I was able to score a bottle of this. Just fantastic.

Reagan1984, Jun 23, 2012
More User Reviews:
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.

Phoodcritic, Jul 18, 2014
Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

DanGeo, Jun 09, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

One year old, bottled Feb 2012, enjoyed Feb 2013 amongst a tasting group. Pours a copper-ish, deep amber color with very nice clarity. An almost light-yellow, eggshell like head tops this one off and leaves tiny bits of lacing along the sides of the glass.

The nose on this one is heavy and full of many different things; bourbon, oak, light vanilla, light black licorice, sweet and juicy dark fruits, boozy figs, dates, and raisins, sweet toffee and caramel, and a very faint maple aroma that comes out more and more as time goes on. I'd like to believe the maple was much heavier when fresh, but it's still hidden and can be found even a year after bottling. Sweet and boozy all around.

Curmudgeon's Better Half doesn't waste any time getting down to business. It hits the palate with a heavy mix of bourbon, oak, licorice, caramel and sweet fruits. More figs, raisins, and dates that have been soaked in bourbon, and dipped in a brown sugar bath. No surprises here - the malt is heavy and gives off a huge molasses and caramel sweetness, sugary and sticky like syrup. Oak flavors are a touch mellow, but definitely there, along with the maple syrup which seems to kind of just blend into the background with everything else.

The booze is strong on this one, especially when you consider the fact that it's one-year old and only 11.9% ABV. Feels much closer to the 15% range. The maple characteristic is strongest in the aftertaste, which is also full of more oak, sweet bread, over-ripe dark fruits, and more bourbon. Thick and almost chewy body, sticky and syrupy, low-medium amount of carbonation.

Surprisingly bourbon heavy and almost even "hot" for being a 11.9% ABV year-old ale, but still pretty drinkable and definitely full of flavor. Lots of sweetness and oak flavors, along with a very, very mild maple characteristic. Was this one worth the price? Probably not, but it was still pretty damn good. I enjoyed it.

tectactoe, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of DavyJones
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

DavyJones, Jun 10, 2012
Photo of Schlais
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Schlais, May 29, 2012
Photo of Spaten454
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

Spaten454, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of supa0525
5/5  rDev +16%

supa0525, Apr 21, 2013
Photo of gregmoscetti
4/5  rDev -7.2%

gregmoscetti, Apr 25, 2012
Photo of DaftPatrick
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%

DaftPatrick, Sep 25, 2014
Photo of heddar33
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

heddar33, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of warnerry
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear deep amber with almost two fingers of tan head. Head has pretty good retention. Only small spots of lacing.

S - Nice bourbon presence, with quite a bit of vanilla and oak in the aroma. Also a bit of caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar. Definitely some noticeable alcohol, but it doesn't detract from the aroma.

T - Caramel is more apparent in the taste, but vanilla and oak are still the spotlight flavors. The is sweetness, but not as much as I feared. The oak cuts the sweetness nicely. Taste is also a bit boozy. Very smooth flavors. Really tasty.

M - Full mouthfeel. Smooth and slick, with sweetness up front, but a nice dry, oaky finish.

O - I don't enjoy Curmudgeon enough to get it very often, but this is a nice use of the base beer. Very nice sipper.

warnerry, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of marvin213
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The look isn't all that impressive, but I know this is a bad ass beer. It's translucent and a surprisingly light brown with even a yellowish tint. I respect the sediment floating all around--even on the first small pour--so perhaps I should replace "impressive" with "predictable." It must be that lighter old ale that confused me as I just casually expected yet another bourbon barrel, pitch black stout.

The nose definitely conjures up thoughts of Old Curmudgeon. It definitely has that sweeter molasses, maple syrup type feel to the aroma. The taste is pretty magnificent, as it embodies what big beers can be. It IS so much better than Old Curmudgeon, and it IS its "better half!" That syrupy sweet, sugary molasses mixed with that semi-bitter, almost chalky, sediment floating big Ol ale that George Washington would've drank really makes for the like the perfect coupling! A phenomenal concoction! That's what it is: a concoction.

I sort of understand (I'm not a brewer)--with these ingredients and the barrel aging and all--how this is a limited edition brew. As the market gets saturated with them, however, I must say that this one definitely meets and/or exceeds expectations. Cheers, and Go Heels!

marvin213, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of Callmecoon
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Callmecoon, Jun 01, 2012
Photo of megamass
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

megamass, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of Mora2000
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to someone for sharing at bu11zeye's 10,000th rating tasting.

The beer pours an orange-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is awesome. I get a lot of maple and oak notes, as well as some vanilla and toffee malt. The flavor is very similar. There is a lot of maple and vanilla from the barrel aging. I also get quite a bit of toffee and caramel malt, as well as some alcohol. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Jul 07, 2012
Photo of BrandonDZ
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

BrandonDZ, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of 1Adam12
4/5  rDev -7.2%

1Adam12, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of sculls65
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy deep amber with creamy head that shrunk to a small cloud in the center of my tulip glass. Nose picks up bourbon, maple, all those toffee candied malts and alcohol ..and some dank wet fruit or peat or leather. The taste is sweet and smooth. Dominated by malts and sweet maple, the bourbon warmth adds a nice touch. Glad i got to try it, but sad its gone.

sculls65, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of bsp77
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Burnished red with thin off-white head and subtle lacing.

Smell: Kind of a laundry list of aromas - caramel, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut, maple syrup, plum. Pretty sweet overall, both literally and figuratively.

Taste: Very sweet. I usually have a problem with that, but not here. Malty and fruity core that is wonderfully overrun with vanilla, oak, coconut and maple syrup. Fairly boozy as well, but it fits with the profile here.

Feel: Thick, syrupy and warming, with pretty low carbonation. Smooth and a nice sipper overall.

Overall: Just great stuff. Founders is great at barrel aging, and has particularly worked wonders with these Maple Syrup Bourbon Barrels.

Overall:

bsp77, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of jaminjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

jaminjohnson, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of kingcrowing
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a hill farmstead tulip.

Pours a deep hazy amber brown with a very small and thin light brown head. Nose is malty, sweet, a bit of maple, well balanced.

Taste is awesome, old ales are generally a fairly dull style for me but these magic barrels really take it up a notch, mellow and sweet with a good amount of maple and bourbon. Not quite up to CBS but the character of the barrels still comes through. Mouthfeel is full and a bit syrupy with a crisp finish. Little bit of booze as well but it's far from overwhelming.

kingcrowing, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

bpfrush, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of ehammond1
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, joshrosborne!

A lighter than expected, but very pretty nearly clear copper and golden with a very persistent, moderately sized light khaki colored head of tightly bubbled foam atop. Leaves fairly thick lines and spots of stick down the glass. Very pretty, especially for the style.

Nice caramel and toffee notes, along with a bit of wood and nut combine nicely with bourbon notes and some lingering maple characters. I wish it all a bit more pronounced, as in the flavor, but this is certainly very nice.

The flavor is fantastic and just as expressive and delicious as I was hoping for. This is like melted caramel and pecan pie with a bourbon whipped cream frosting atop...only in beer form. The alcohol is exceptionally well hidden, turning this monster into an incredibly drinkable, tamed beast. Really impressed.

Medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Just a touch oily. Very drinkable.

Exceptional. One of my favorites within the style. Well done, Founders!

ehammond1, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of MattyG85
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and cloudy brownish copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which quickly recedes into a few thin patches. Lacing is moderate.

Smell: Big hints of bourbon up front with woody oak chips. Good hints of vanilla and maple syrup. Big malt presence with lots of caramel and toffee. Sweet molasses and brown sugar aromas. Also some subtle hints of dark raisin, plum, and fig. Light hints of earthy hops in the background. Quite a complex smelling beer.

Taste: As bold and complex as it smells. Big taste of bourbon and vanilla with lots of oak chip. Good amount of maple syrup and molasses. Lots of bready lightly roasted malts. Big notes of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Midway comes some hints of dark fruits including plum, fig, and raisin. Finishes with a very light hint of earthy hops. A pretty sweet brew but its far from cloying. All of the malts and barrel elements come together very well.

Mouthfeel: Feels on the thicker side with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and pretty syrupy. Actually finishes somewhat dry. The alcohol heat is felt somewhat at 11.9 % but its still pretty smooth considering.

Overall: A great Old Ale. Complex and nicely sweet without becoming too syrupy. The barrel elements add a great kick.

MattyG85, Jun 03, 2012
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 928 ratings.