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

955 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 955
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 428
Gots: 371 | 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
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Ratings: 955 | Reviews: 231
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a near clear, medium amber body with a modestly-sized, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, malt-forward notes scented of caramel candy, dark brown sugar, and maple featuring supporting scents of plum jelly and oak-tinged bourbon.

Taste: Flushed with a large upfront sweetness of caramelized sugars, brown sugars, and ardent traces of maple. Well-toasted maltiness. Bourbon percolated raisins, then, a bit of zested citrus with a small portion of bitterness and a warming alcohol presence. Nuances of oak wood. Sweetish, warm (though not hot) finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Superb. The standard-issue Curmudgeon was a really solid beer, so this just gives it a nice little barrel-aged bump.

Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber color with a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with some brown sugar notes. Some maple syrup along with some alcohol heat.

Taste: Sweet malt with some dark fruit notes along with some alcohol heat. I love the maple syrup notes. I'm getting some mild coconut along with a bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Big fan of this one. Just enough bitterness so the malt isn't overpowering. The maple and coconut notes were wonderful. I'd definitely have this one again.

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

Sampled at EBF from keg.

Creamy small head, slightly hazy maple colored beer.

Nose sweet malts, brown sugar, molasses, light bourbon, barrel, vanilla, maple, raisin like fruits

Taste sweet! Raisin, brown sugar, maple, molasses, maple candy, hint of barrel and smoke even, vanilla, chewy malts, creamy, light booze, touch of bourbon, hint of esters, finish is a bit bitter and more booze, brown sugar and maple all linger for a while.

Mouth is rich full bodied, bit syrupy, decent carb, with some warming and almost tingly booze.

Overall delicious, but I think I remember the "Kaiser Carmudgeon" being a bit better, but that may have been my memory playing tricks on me.

Photo of Rifugium
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Thanks to Teresa's for offering this on tap!

Served in a tulip glass, a slightly hazy mahogany brown color, with a small cap of ivory head that dissipated mostly but left some very nice lacing on the glass. Aroma was pretty boozy, with obvious notes of dark sugars and dark dried fruits, woody and leafy afterthoughts. Tasted delicious...brown sugar, molasses, maple, quite boozy, but not really a distinctive bourbon profile until it was allowed to get a bit warmer; raisins, figs, worty malts, with touches of vanilla and licorice. Very complex and tasty, quite smooth, and more so at a warmer temp; alcohol is obvious, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness. Full bodied, and very drinkable. I had no problem ordering another.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.87/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight up declicous on draft at Mad Mex I'm in love with these beers from Founders on barrel aged whiskey and maple syrup. This one fantastic version of the beers that I don't care for fresh but damn aged on both bourbon and Maple syrup barrels there's nothing out there like this in the world. Appears a deep caramel amber body with creamy tan head forming thick in my chalice. Aroma has deep chocolate and candy coated whiskey barrel notes excellent stuff indeed...incredible complex caramel alcohol and whisky accents to make one incredible beer going on. Toffee is warming up with sweet caramel layers and whiskey oak tones even vanilla coming from the charred oaky notes...big vinous layer of fruits like plums, raisins, and other super saturated sugar content fruit additions. Amazing in the balance even though it's sweet it's not an overkill beer, I'm glad I've come across it during a PCBW even. Mouthfeel is way too smooth for the alcohol level this beer goes down incredibly easy without difficulty. Maple syrup adds a whole other complex layer to an already big and good beer profile, this beer comes off complex delicious and I want more.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half, or if you want to be the beer geek of all beer geeks, "CBH". Old Ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels. "Maple syrup bourbon barrels?" What is that? Maple syrup bourbon barrels? Which ones? What? 11.9% ALC./VOL. Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI. No gobbledygook whatsoever, only legal crap, so let's jump on in…

Dark crimson hue, small head, turns to a tight ring.

Aroma is utter decadence. Hedonism in a bottle. Maple and bourbon blended with old ale? How much richness can you take? Bam! Hit after hit of sweetness, least of which is the rich malt backbone. Whiskey, vanilla, cherries, maple and more.

Taste: All of that and so much more. Intensely delicious. Caramel, toffee and chocolate tones dance with the dark fruit and the effects of the barrel. Despite the incredible hugeness of this affair, it's even slightly a chore to drink. He says, perhaps too early. I'm not even halfway through this bottle, and damn, but I will finish it.

And damn, it is impressive. All the parts hang together in all the right ways, and the sweetness sticks out, bolstered by the booze, but it holds it's own appropriately. Mmmm, mmm, I have to say, mostly because I haven't said it yet, and sometimes it needs to be said. Mmm, says me, mmmm.

Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Still not sure why this has not been merged with Kaiser's Curmudgeon yet but guess I'll review it until it has. had it again as CBH up at Night of the Barrels in Boston and 3 weeks ago in a bottle thanks to Huhzebenda; thanks Matt. I liked it much more from the bottle.

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with two inches of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel, oak, bourbon, maple, roasted malts, and toffee.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, maple syrup, oak, vanilla, sugar, bourbon, and toasted malts.

m - Medium to full body more on the full side, and low carbonation. Thick and smooth.

o - A very nice maple beer. Some nice sweet maple, vanilla, and caramel, would certainly like to have it again.

Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this beer is the #9 beer on the "Top Beers - Old Ale" list on beeradvocate.com. I'm not sure how this beer is different than Kaiser Curmudgeon but it apparently is in a way that I am unaware of. On tap at the Big Hunt in DC, served in a 10 ounce tumbler. Beer is amber and slightly hazy with a lazy head of small off white bubbles, some lacing but low retention and carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, bourbon, boozy, malt, strong.

Beer is thin up front with minimal syrup notes sneaking through, giving it a strong almost drying finish, this beer again is about as sweet as a beer can be and still be considered a beer. If not for the 12% alcohol, the gravity on this thing would be through the roof. If you like big booze and palate wrecking levels of flavor, this beer is for you. Decent but too sweet.

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1300th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in 2/2012. Pours lightly hazy ruby red color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lasts. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, maple syrup, bourbon, raisin, fig, molasses, toast, toffee, brown sugar, herbal earthiness, oak, leather, pepper, light vanilla, and light coconut. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of barrel character and malt notes; hardly any alcohol presence. Taste of big caramel, molasses, maple syrup, toast, toffee, bourbon, raisin, fig, vanilla, oak, pepper, herbal earthiness, leather, and light coconut. Lingering notes of caramel, maple syrup, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, bourbon, vanilla, oak, pepper, leather, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of robust malt flavor with well balanced barrel character; and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and thick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged old ale. Fantastic complexity and balance of malt and barrel flavors; and moderately smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable slow sipper.

Photo of orangesol
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle at Al's of Hampden. Thanks for the chance to try this one Al.

A - Pours slightly murky copper orange with a small half finger tall off white head leaving very thin streaks of lace down part of the glass.

S - Smells of caramel, toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, oak, brown sugar and the maple syrup from the bourbon barrels. A bit of booze develops toward the end of the glass but it still smells great.

T - Starts off with lots of sweetness - mostly caramel, toffee, butterscotch, brown sugar, etc. - slowly giving way to hints of oak, vanilla and the maple syrup / bourbon from the barrels. The booze is light initially growing stronger and stronger as it sits in the glass. Finish is pretty sweet with a touch of booze burn, lingering on the pallet for some time after consumption.

M - Medium body with a rather sweet flavor and moderate carbonation. The sweetness is strong throughout, lingering long after the finish.

O - I rather enjoyed this one. It packs a ton of flavor and it was still pretty easy to drink, minus the slight booze kick. I am really starting to like all these Old Ale's I have been having recently.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Pours brown with a small off-white head on top with some decent lacing that hangs on the sides for a while.

S: There was some maple, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and bourbon all mixed together. On the sweet side, very inviting.

T: A nice blend of bourbon and maple. Brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and some oak. It has a nice sweetness, but not over the top at al.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol hidden nicely.

O: One of my favorite Old Ales, probably because of the barrel aging. Would certainly drink again.

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Andrew for sharing.

Pours a little white head. Color is an orange amber.

Aroma: lots of maple syrup and barrel flavors. Toffee, caramel, and lots of malts. A little mint. Bourbon and oak.

Taste: mimics the nose but there is a little less mint and more maple syrup. A little more sweet and malty. Nice barrel flavors.

Mouthfeel: warming and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sweet and syrupy.

Overall, a bit too sweet for me, but the flavors were good. The maple bourbon barrels were nice but they brought a mint flavor with it that I didn't like.

Photo of ShanePB
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle shared by a friend
Served into a chalice glass

A: Mahogany copper body certainly on the lighter side of things. Admittedly, this isn't as dark as I was expecting for some reason. A thin off-white head forms and eventually settles out into a foamy ring. Nice patches of lacing on the walls, too.

S: Extremely sweet malts and maple syrup are first to hit the nose. Bourbon and oak wood come through, along with some hints of vanilla and toffee. Wow does that smell enticing and very rich.

T: Whoa, incredibly sweet almost to the point of being too cloying. But it's good. Sweet maple syrup dominates the flavor profile from the beginning to end. The bourbon does come through on the back end along with the barrel, but I still think it's swallowed by the maple. A bit of sweet toffee and caramel, but those are simply afterthoughts.

M: Nicely carbonated, not overdone giving this a very full mouth feel. It tastes like it's going to be very syrupy but the lively carbonation breaks it up, and keeps it from being sticky.

Talk about a sipping beer. This is certainly one to sit and savor. The overall sweetness may be a bit too much for some but the flavors it gives off are really wonderful. Too sweet? It's debatable, perhaps but a very nice drink to be sure.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is amber colored and mildly hazy with a small white head. The aroma is the best aspect of the beer, in my opinion. Oak, vanilla, maple, sugar, syrup, booze. The flavor is complex and well done, albeit too sweet. This seems like a beer that will age gracefully. Lots of oak, sweet maple, vanilla. Alcoholic warmth in the finish. A few ounces of this beer is plenty. I am looking forward to opening another one of these further on down the road.

Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Dogfish snifter. It poured brown orange in color with a thin, sticky lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The maple syrup bourbon barrels really stand out in the aroma for me. I get some bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla mixing with the maple syrup sweetness. The malty sweetness in the base beer comes out as well, but the maple and bourbon steal the show for me. There is a lot of sweetness to it, but the flavors are good enough to pull it off.

The taste also shows some very good bourbon and maple flavors to it. The bourbon is very smooth with more of the maple and brown sugar sweetness showing up up front, with oak and vanilla coming out towards the finish. The taste feels more balanced than the aroma did with some bitterness towards the finish really helping in that department. Everything really comes together well in it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little above average. Overall, I thought it was a very good beer. The bourbon and maple flavors were definitely the highlight and maybe even overshadowed the beer a little too much, but they were pretty great flavors. The flavors all really work together well. Really good beer overall.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half

LOOK: Medium brown color, good clarity, light tan foam.

SMELL: Amazing notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malt, toffee and caramel upfront. The notes resonate in the glass.

TASTE: Malty and oaky, with a touch of maple but mostly just sweetness, smooth bourbon notes, vanilla and caramel. Really tasty stuff; rich and complex.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, low-medium carbonation.

OVERALL: A really great beer. Drink it first or last as it tends to overshadow others. The expressive barrel notes and most excellent base beer of Curmudgeon taste like they were always meant to be together.

Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter glass. Let's see how Kaiser here goes from his on tap version back in the day.

Nothing like Kaiser on tap. An absolutely gorgeous ruby crystal clear shimmering body, faint tan head falls leaving a whispering top and a tan collar. Spotted leopard like lacing, and faint legs of sheets. This body color is just like a gem it's beautiful.

Bouquet is mellow, soft, slight icing sugar, barleywine rich without the boozey character, mellow hops, subtle beef jerky, caramel, and faint maple syrup. I don't get the sense something really sweet is coming. This is like a real nice subdued and rich barleywine on the nose with a unique profile.

Taste bring a solid palate, bringing the nose notes nicely. Nothing overbearingly sweet, maple sugar comes in slowly, finish highlights this wonderfully. The bottle truly does manage the notion, it tastes like pancakes, pat of butter and hint of maple syrup. No sense of hot heat at all, not even warming in the stomach.

Overall, I am just shocked at how different this is in appearance and taste compared to Kaiser, it's not even the same thing, and out of the bottle it's real impressive. I was tempted to just trade this, but I am really glad I tried it. It's just great. Founders = magic in a barrel.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber body. Decent head with decent lacing.

Smell - Apples, bourbon, maple. Big molasses aroma. The aromas complement each other very nicely.

Taste - Even better. Apples subdued. Much stronger maple syrup. Sweet dark sugar flavors. Nice earthy hop bitterness to keep it balanced. Awesome.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, for sure. Easy to drink, surprisingly. Almost too light considering the ABV.

Overall - Quite spectacular flavors. Much better than Old Curmudgeon. Every beer needs to be put in maple syrup bourbon barrels.

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.  

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blue Dog in Chalfont, during their wealth of riches event.

The beer pours a dark golden amber color with good head retention and lacing. Those comes across as sweet and strong, as I pick up vanilla, cherry cough drop, some light maple and a hint of hazelnut. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but is really dominated by the cherry cough drop and vanilla. The high abv. is definitely noticeable in this beer, though the beer is not at all hot or heavy on the palate. Mouthfeel is fairly full, and the beer has a long, rich, sweet finish.

While I thought this a pretty good beer, it was just a bit too sweet and boozy for me. I was able to try this side by side with frangelic mountain, and preferred that beer to this one.

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 Rhettroactive
3.72/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to BBP for this bottle. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Medium ruby/brown with a big glow around the edges. One finger of bubbly cream-coloured head formed and quickly receded to a few large bubbles around the edges of the glass. Decent lacing.

S - Sweet caramel, raisins, bourbon, vanilla, toffee. Not specifically getting any maple syrup but there is a big overall sweetness. Very complex.

T - A big hit of bourbon up front with vanilla and oak flavours. The barrel aging characteristics definitely dominate the base beer flavours but hey are still present - contributing some toffee, brown sugar, dark caramel and raisin flavours. The alcohol is noticeable but not distracting. The maple syrup shows up in the finish, adding a nice sweetness.

M - Medium to full body, creamy. So smooth and silky. Light carbonation.

O - An excellent beer. Was really happy that I got chance to try this one.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 955 ratings.