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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

231 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 231
Hads: 957
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 3.94%
Wants: 427
Gots: 370 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 231 | Hads: 957
Photo of hardy008
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber to light copper color with a two finger head with good retention and lacing. The aroma has maple syrup, bourbon, caramel, and vanilla. Smells like this will be very sweet.

The taste is very sweet, with caramel, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and a little toasted malt. This is very nice. There is no bitterness for balance, but I don't think this beer needs it.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink. Even though I can taste and smell the bourbon, there is no alcohol burn. This is very well made. I hope Founders makes and bottles this again. (600 characters)

Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is not for drinking by the pint. Good lord. Nose, Taste, and Feel: Molasses is clear, maple syrup, diacetyl, crazy dark fruits in the nose, creamy, rum-cake, alcohol, butter . . . bourbon, vanilla, chewy. This is crazy, crazy good. I would prefer a 5 ounce pour, though, especially at 12% . . . but if i gotta drink the whole bomber, I gotta drink the whole bomber. (370 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Harder to track down than Bigfoot (the real one, not the beer), but for molasses? And maple liquor barrels? I'll track. 750 ML bomber split with my wife after our fantasty baseball draft. Hillbilly Hogs for the win. And no Mauer this year.

Pour is dark red flirting with orange highlights, peppered with a 1/4 cup of suspended sediment all through the beer column. Bald man's ring on top. Smell is just heavenly. Molasses, sweet malts, deep maple. Warm alcohol. Yes.

Curmudgeon's Better Half is what one has come to expect from Founders: excellence in barreling. The maple is exquisite, coming through as a sweentess riding the malts & as a gentle alcohol burn in the back of the throat (barrel, I'm guessing). Huge caramel/toffee wades into the fray. Vanilla, brown sugar increase the cavity index significantly. Alcohol is present & warming. Wildly smooth, & stupidly easy to drink.

We should have paired this up with an original Curmudgeon's to compare-&-contrast, but hey, such is life. This is top-shelf stuff, & the reason that I'll buy anything Founders puts in a barrel. Because it almost always comes out excellent, like this beer. Borderline elite. (1,164 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle. Out of my CBS snifter.

A- A bright reddish amber, on the darker side. Very clean and clear. A healthy off white head forms and reduces to a thin layer that retains. Light lacing.

S- Tons of sweet malt, caramel, and molassas. I get some touches of heat, as well as oaky maple bourbon. Pretty amazing.

T- Just buttery smooth, which is quickly followed by a hoppy punch. The caramel, bourbon, and oak then really go to work. Amazing complex, and just kind of dances across the tongue. Sweet, but not too sweet. I do get some touches of maple candy as well.

M- Amazing. Light on carbonation, but I feel it works perfect for this beer. The body and mouthfeel just have the perfect thickness.

O- Though very reminicent of Backwoods Bastard, this beer is a little different. I think the balance of body, barrel aging, and complexity, is quite amazing. Quite curious to see what this turns into with some age, as if it smooths out it will be euphoric.

-GFunk (970 characters)

Photo of RollingFiveSixes
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You don't even need to review this beer to know it's going to be astounding. Founder's lives up to it's name with this ale.

***Recommend serving at room tempature.

~Appearance is a beautiful dark violet red below a creamy tan head that sits for a while.

~Aroma consists of soft bourbon, vanilla cream, molasses syrup and slight alcohol.

~Tastes likie it smells but with greater force. Heavy maple syrup mouthfeel leads to vanilla-bourbon cream, mild carbination and a sweet oak finish.

~Overall, god damn it's a good beer, but not for the yuppies.

Wonder how it will tastes with a few years behind it??? (610 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz courtesy od Cuzco pours a clearish crimson color with a large and frothy tan head. Awesome retention and lacing.

Holy shit this smells amazing! Toasted coconut, bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt and molasses. Absolutely one of the best smelling beers I have ever laid nose upon.

Man, this beer is tasty. Lots of syrupy sweetness and toffee with a gentle nudge of leafy hops. The sweetness is big but the toasty coconut is so wonderful that cloying never even enters the picture. Nice alcohol complexity, very earthy. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect as it is creamy, woody and soft. Love it! One of the best beers I have had in a loooong time. (647 characters)

Photo of Hoppedup616
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to land this bottle, poured into a Great Lakes snifter.
Poured almost syrupy, this one really stuck to the glass. Molasses in color, and had a minimal off white head that left pretty quickly. Smell was extremely sweet, totally amazing. Carmel, bourbon, wood, slight maple, but more than CBS in more opinion. Whoa...this tastes incredible. Maple is more prominent in the taste, which I was fond of. Still very sweet, and had a very nice bourbon character. Alcohol was very well hidden, something Founders is really good at doing. The mouthfeel was also thick and syrupy, not that much carbonation, but I loved it. This beer was worth the wait. Haven't tried the original Curmudgeon, but it's next on my list. I look forward to enjoying this beer again. (764 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another wonderful beer from Founders. I'm really digging the large format bottle special releases- all of them have been welcome additions so far. This one is no exception. Pours a dark amber with a solid head for the abv and style. The head sticks around for the duration of the beer. Lovely bourbon aromas to start, with vanilla, a bit of spicy oak, and a nice punch from the residual alcohol. Some Maple develops at the end. The taste is even better, with very well integrated flavors of chocolate, vanilla, maple, oak, Bourbon, and molasses notes. On the sweet side, but it all works very well. Silky in the mouth, and a pleasurable experience all around. A very tasty beer indeed. (685 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, I was able to try one of these and it was worth the wait. Being a fan of old ales, this release hits the sweet spot.

Poured into the glass, the ale has darkly murky brown qualities with a slight off-white head. There is little carbonation in this one. A maple aroma, accompanied by a degree of maltiness, dominated the aroma. The aroma is not one that you have to search for. The initial taste was characterized by the smoothness of the beer. The maple syrup used in this one blends perfectly with the sour Belgiany notes. Dark fruits and perhaps a hint of tobacco can also be detected on the malt backbone. The sweetness is noticeable, but does not overwhelm the beer. The sweetness transitions easily into a warming flavor in the aftertaste. (753 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-golden brown color with a small off-white head which dissipates with some lacing

S-fruit and molasses with hints of bourbon and vanilla

T-a delicious mixture of dried fruits, brown sugar, malts, vanilla, and bourbon

F-medium to full body with light carbonation, smooth and boozy, but well-balanced

O-a delicious complex ale with great flavor and balance, one to savor (373 characters)

Photo of ncketchum
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temp in a chimay goblet

A - pours a dark red-orange with minimal head, lots of sediment

S - smell is bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, and maple syrup with a strong malt backbone

T - Strong bourbon up front, followed by the sweetness of the maple syrup, all with malt underneath.

M - fairly thick, not much carbonation, pretty boozy, the abv definitely makes itself known.

O - another excellent offering from
founders, glad I split this one as doing a whole bomber myself would be a tall order. (514 characters)

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Man, I am I glad to get a bottle of this. Wish I had a couple more to put back but many thanks to my pal who landed this. You know who you are.
appearance: Clear bronze, regal I have to say. The Curmudgeon must be a Duke or somethin. Not much head to speak of but nice lingering wisps of lacing.
smell: Not as in the face as expected, though a lot goin on. Most prominent is the bourbon, though not dominating at all. Balanced with a sweetness that must be the molasses and/or maple. Man, there's oak and some spice. Fantastic. Now, I'm really wanting another to lay down a bottle or 2. If this nose becomes more pronounced without losing balance it will be transcendent.
taste: This! So full and rich and somehow so gentle. All the nose in a power-packed fist in a velvet glove.
All hail Founders! Please make more. (818 characters)

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep amber/crimson hue with about a finger of off-white head that slowly settles to a ring around the edges. Sticky lace runs down the glass with ease.

S: A big burst of maple and bourbon up front, with sweet dried fruit, caramel, and some light floral hop undertones.

T: Cereal up front, with notes of caramel, honey, and dried stone fruits. Mid-palate is is massive maple and bourbon flavors, with a very slight smokiness lingering in the background. Finish is sweet and very long-lasting.

Notes: This beer is a monster of flavor! Full-bodied, viscous, and yet very smooth. One would not assume it was 11.9% ABV upon taking their first sip. For it's strength and complexity, it is highly drinkable to almost dangerous levels. This beer has got it all! When it comes to barrel-aging, Founders proves once again that they do it like no other. Wonderful stuff! (914 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A whiskey colored body with lots of sediment stirring about. The head is tan and creamy with some nice sticky lacing.

Great nose of vanilla bean, oak, whiskey and caramelized sugars. Some maple syrup also.

Oh wow, the taste is so well blended. So much going on, but it is so mellow at the same time. Like it has been aged. Syrupy sugars, maple, dry oak, vanilla, warm whiskey and so on. So very complex, but not hot and in your face. Just awesome.

The body is actually quite light feeling. Very dry as well. For the flavor coming out you would think this would be a big heavy beer, but it is not.

I might actually like this better than CBS. It's like a better version of Backwoods Bastard if you can imagine. Great overall beer and I hope to have it again some day. (769 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.71/5  rDev +9%
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 (1,669 characters)

Photo of Spaten454
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (586 characters)

Photo of marvin213
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
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! (1,212 characters)

Photo of fvernon
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Deschutes snifter at around 50 degrees. It's my only bottle, so trying to make this count while I cook (and eat) a beet/fig/goat cheese pizza. Pours out a light copper with a nice, mother-of-pearl head that quickly billows up and then dissipates to a thin film across the top of the beer. A swirl brings some back up with globs of lacing, but again it quickly peters out. Still, it's very nice to look at - the color is vibrant.

This beer is a brilliant copper in the glass, with nice flashes of ruby where the light catches it. Aromas of malted biscuit, maple syrup, and a faint bourbon in the background. Something like a muted strawberry jam comes through as well. Then the first sip... way more of an alcohol bite than I was anticipating; it's all old ale and alcohol up front with the maple-bourbon-oak finish. Raisins, dates, and booze on the exhale. Subsequent sips bring forward the maple and bourbon more, even moreso than I got from my bottle of CBS. The mouthfeel is just right - thick enough to savor, but not overly chewy. I guess I could have waited on this a while longer for the booziness to calm down, but I'm still enjoying it greatly. Something I'd definitely seek out again if I can track it down on tap. (1,259 characters)

Photo of yarnbomb
4.75/5  rDev +10%

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. (164 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
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. (1,387 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a 9oz glass
Review # 300
Really had some dumb luck finding this beer

This beer is slightly hazy amber orange. Not much head to speak of and some nice alcohol legs. It is overrun with bourbon and I cant express that enough. There is a lot of whiskey elements, corn mash, rye and a slight sourness. There is also a nice woodieness to this beer, some oak, some earthy spiciness. The beer may be bourbon dominant but there is a nice heap of dark fruit flavors from the malts. The maple also makes a strong presence and is really enhanced by the sweetness of the beer. There is not much alcohol taste in here but the bourbon ads a boozy element that makes this beer a sipper. There is quite a bit of alcohol feel, unsurprisingly. The beer is pretty heavy and malty but that was obvious what it was getting into. I't's quite smooth and a prefect sipping beer as it keeps you wanting more with its complex flavors.

Overall, this beer was amazing, Very grateful I got to try it and a perfect beer to cap off another 100 reviews, cheers to 100 more. (1,062 characters)

Photo of SDDanC
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to try this. Poured from bottle, dark amber hue. Half finger of egg white head. Nose is full of rich molasses, booze and those classic old ale profiles. Sweet, sticky malts, but the maple/molasses definitely encapsulates the aroma. Taste is burn and maple up front followed by roasted barley and alcohol warmth. It finishes like a authentic waffle that crisped up a little too much. Slight butterscotch. This beer is so complex! Mouthfeel is perfect for this style. . . thick and sticky. Maple syrup coats the mouth thoroughly. Low carbonation. Overall, freaking incredible. (587 characters)

Photo of BelgianBeerHog26
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is fantastic. Has a great flavor from start to finish. Very unique.

I had this beer at three penny taproom in VT.

A: Beer is an amber / red hue. Slightly cloudy.

S : has a strong carmel coffee smell.

T: This beer starts off with a carmel chocolate flavor. Middle is a mild coffee. Finishes with a smooth whiskey, maple and oak flavor.

M: Medium body feel, not overly viscous but has a nice feel.

O: this beer is one the best I have had while in VT. This is pretty tough to beat. I would compare this to a maple stout in sweetness, but it finishes with a smooth carmel ethanol flavor. It is overall a fantastic beer. (633 characters)

Photo of kennylopez
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Cloverleaf in Caldwell, NJ poured into a snifter.

Appearance: a clearer amber color with a off white fingers worth of head that leaves beautiful lacing.

Smells: a big bourbon note with sweet vanilla and hint of toffee rounded with a dark fruit.

Tastes: this is a super yummy ale. It is sweeter than the original Old Curmudgeon's with the maple syrup playing a big role along with the barrel side notes like toffee and vanilla with a generous Bourbon character.

Mouthfeels: at just under 12% this is a big beer but hard to call a sipper. I really enjoyed this and as it warms up the bourbon builds and the slight burn is super enjoyable.

Overall: I was lucky enough to score a bottle of this when it was around, and I was even more lucky when I got to have quite a few glasses at the tapping at my favorite pub. I am curious to see if the heat mellows a bit with some time, but I fully enjoyed this brew and will soak up every bit like a sponge given the opportunity. 10 out of !0, Great Job again to Founders Brewing Co. (1,035 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.84/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,165 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 231 ratings.