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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

920 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 920
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 406
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
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Ratings: 920 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jrfehon33
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

jrfehon33, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of pauljunk
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

pauljunk, Jul 02, 2012
Photo of BigTrubble
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

BigTrubble, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

GrindFatherBob, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of harris4
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

harris4, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of corby112
3.53/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at The Pour House in Westmont, NJ.

Pours a deep, dark burnt orange color with tangerine edges and a two finger, frothy yellowish-beige head that very slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet boozy aroma with a pretty strong barrel presence.  Lots of earthy oak, maple and bourbon along with some leathery malts, toffee and hazelnut. Oak is strongest element which is surprising.  As it warns, the molasses character comes out and meshes nicely with the maple.  Still, the nose is surprisingly a bit bland with too strong of an oak presence for my liking.

Medium bodied with lots of boozy heat and a strong barrel presence.  Dominant dry oak flavor with booze and sweet maple notes.  Underneath, there is some more booze and leathery malt.  Sweetness kicks in as it warns with hints of toffee, caramel and hazelnut. Dry and spicy with subtle molasses.  Still pretty hot however and a bit harsh.  6oz is plenty.  

corby112, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of LiquidBread219
3.53/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= Poured amber- copper in color in color small head that was kind of tan in color. The head disappeared rather fast a little bit of spotty lacing. It's a really good looking beer.

S= As far as the nose is concerned the main notes are vanilla and bourbon are really strong and almost overpower the beer. The are some other notes in this beer like toffee and brown sugar that subtle but mainly the notes that stood out for me are the bourbon and vanilla.

T= In the taste the sweet caramel and toffee come out a little bit more but overall the bourbon is the main taste that comes out for me. I really do think that it overpowers the beer but you do get more of the sweet notes as a mentioned before like the toffee, caramel, and brown sugar.

M= Rich and Smooth. I think it is more of a full bodied beer because of the sweetness of the beer light in carbonation.

O= Overall, I would rate probably lower than most would because I didn't like all the bourbon in it. I'm glad I got to try it but probably wouldn't try it again unless it was on draft or something I'm going to trade some of my other bottles of this because maybe other people will enjoy it more than me and I'll get to try some stuff that I want to try.

LiquidBread219, Feb 29, 2012
Photo of Arbitrator
3.55/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank! From notes.

I thought this was an appropriate review to upload for #1300. To many more milestones of being a curmudgeon!

A: Pours a clear chestnut body with light tan head. Large bubbles recede into milky swirls on top of the beer.

S: Smells of toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla, bourbon, with a nutty maple accent. Sweet for sure.

T: CBH is big on vanilla in the taste; it reminds me of the first batch of Abacus in its potency. The flavor drops off a bit after; or rather, it becomes more balanced, but it becomes harder to pick out the nuances after the big vanilla punch. Caramel, honey, bourbon, with a touch of maple. The finish has the astringency of nut skin (I wish there were a better way to phrase this) and oak.

M: While the body is hefty, it drinks much lighter due to the crisp carbonation. In the finish, the flavor falls off in a lackluster fashion; kind of disappointing since the taste is a little simple to begin with (or rather, I perceive it that way as the vanilla overrides much of the nuance).

O: Not bad... But I can see why this one was a lot easier to get (reportedly) than Canadian Breakfast Stout. It's not Founders' best.

Arbitrator, Oct 17, 2012
Photo of siege06nd
3.65/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my CBS snifter...

A: Pours a slightly cloudy, bright ruby copper. About a half finger of cream colored head settles to a quarter finger. Pretty good lacing down the sides of the glass and good retention. The color is incredibly radiant and contrasts nicely with the head. I'm giving this a big thumbs up.

S: Lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, biscuit malt, and oak.

T: The maple syrup is most apparent, along with molasses, vanilla, and caramel. Some dark fruit is back there also, as well as some light chocolate. The finish is very boozy and very tannic from the wood. Lingering bitterness after the finish from the woodiness. I know I described a lot of flavors, but they are all a bit muddled and the profile here becomes a bit one-not. Sweetness and booziness reign supreme, and complexity lacks ever so slightly.

M: A little thin. Full bodied, but all sweetness and booze. Give me some more malt presence, some more carbonation, and a greater evolution of flavor. This is where the Better Half takes a hit, and I think the blame can be pointed squarely at the Curmudgeon Old Ale base beer. I always thought it was a touch too thin and light. The barrel treatment in this beer certainly adds to it, but all the things the barrel imparts: sweetness, syrup, and woody tannins are a little too heavily weighted, mainly because the base beer can't balance them.

O: This is a solid brew and I am certainly happy Founders bottled it. But I don't think the base beer is enough to withstand a barrel treatment. What you end up with is a sugary, boozy ale, with some lingering complexities that are far too tepid. Certainly not bad, but not great. Probably my least favorite of the 750 mL releases up to this point.

siege06nd, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Well hazed plum color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is below average, even for the ABV, but a decent lattice of lacing is left.

4.5 S: The maple syrup is huge in this. It's about twice as potent as in CBS. Molasses follows, then raisin, plum, tobacco, and apple fruitiness. The bourbon influence is minimal, but it does add an extra layer of complexity along with some oak. Plenty of caramel and a bit of toffee. Smells great and the alcohol is well hidden.

3.5 T: The taste is taken over by raisin and tobacco, which even pushed aside the maple syrup. Following those, molasses, plum, apple, oak, and maple syrup are found. The bourbon is a good bit stronger in the taste and it brings along a booziness that is expected with a 12% brew. The reason that I don't like this more is because it is pretty damn sweet. Not Bruery sweet, but sweeter than it needs to be. Otherwise, it is tasty.

3.5 M: Heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy, but it's a bit syruppy as well and gives a hefty chewiness.

3.5 D: It's tasty, but I wish it fermented out a bit more. Love the flavors, but just too much sweetness.

DavoleBomb, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/15/12
*From notes

-- Consumed side by side with a 2010 Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale --

A: A straight pour down the center of the glass yields a meager .25 finger white and bubbly head. Pink grapefruit-crimson in hue. Decent retention, collar and lacing.

S: Sweet. Quite sweet, in fact. Heavy gobs of maple are right there, and the bourbon fills in where the sap does not.

T: It's extremely sweet right out of the gates, and it never lets up. Unlike CBS, the base beer here just doesn't have the strength to stand up to the maple bourbon barrels, which overwhelm all other aspects of the brew. Sure there's more control here then say Kuhnhenn's BB 4D, but CBH just doesn't present the depth and concentration of flavor. The mid dries out a slight bit, though as it does the booze really wallops the palate. The back is jam packed with maple syrup, toasted coconut and vanilla. For as tasty as this is, the beer simply lacks the layers of flavor I've come to expect out of Founders barrel aged brews.

M: Unlike most of Founders offerings, the balance in the mouth is off. It takes a lot of swishing and chewing to get that frothy feel I so enjoy about good beer. It's a bit oily and simply undercarbed for my liking.

O: Put this on the shelf year-round and watch the rDev fall. I think that (yet again) the hype train has gotten a moderate hold of a reasonably good beer. This lacks key components of the best in-style, and the maple bourbon barrels overwhelm the delicate nuances of what an Old Ale should be.

I've put my other bottle in the cellar, hoping that a bit of age will solve some of these issues. But when they're rudimentary like this, I doubt the foundation will really change that much.

All in all a good (not great) beer, though it's certainly the weakest entry in Founders Backstage series to date.

Rhettroactive, Mar 01, 2012
Photo of Schlais
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Schlais, May 29, 2012
Photo of Callmecoon
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Callmecoon, Jun 01, 2012
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

Cynic-ale, Sep 07, 2013
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

acurtis, Oct 04, 2014
Photo of DStoked
3.75/5  rDev -13%

DStoked, Apr 29, 2013
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

beerhan, Apr 09, 2012
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

xxcarpxx, Aug 05, 2012
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

montrealbcr89, Mar 06, 2013
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

aliveguy17, Nov 04, 2012
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

Luk13, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of mwbrady12
3.75/5  rDev -13%

mwbrady12, Jul 21, 2013
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3.75/5  rDev -13%

AleWatcher, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of phishphorce
3.75/5  rDev -13%

phishphorce, Feb 09, 2014
Photo of thebigredone
3.75/5  rDev -13%

thebigredone, Jan 26, 2014
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 920 ratings.