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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

917 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 917
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 405
Gots: 377 | 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: 917 | Reviews: 229 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

jaydoc, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of womencantsail
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is amber in color with a white head. Lots and lots of vanilla and maple aromas to this. Caramel and toffee malt sweetness are well represented. Minimal wood with a good dose of bourbon to it as well. The flavor is just as wonderful. Lots of bourbon, maple, vanilla, and caramel. Maybe a little bit of brown sugar to go with it all. A little bit of oak flavor and dark fruit.

womencantsail, Jul 18, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First sample I grabbed at the EBF 2012. This beer poured out as a clear looking amber color with some golden highlights. The head was white and settles pretty quickly. The smell of the beer gives off some big boozy notes and lots of caramel sweetness. The taste of the beer has that signature barrel aged flavor that Founders seems to nail every time they make something like this. The flavors of bourbon, vanilla, wood, caramel all collide in this one. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth with a moderate carbonation level and a boozy heat in the finish. Overall I would say this one might better with age to mellow out some of the heat in the finish. Either way, I found this beer to be very nice.

Knapp85, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -7.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

JAHMUR, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dyan sent this one. Thanks! I included this beer in a blind tasting where it was sampled alongside King Henry, Mother of All Storms, Sucaba, Arctic Devil and Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary.

Better Half pours a light shade of amber, decidedly lighter than I'd expect for an old ale (whatever that means by today's brewing standards). The head is thin and recedes quickly. The nose is sugary sweet, heavy on caramel malt flavors. Pleasantly barrel forward, though not as maple syrupy heavy as I was expecting; bourbon seems more dominant. The palate is similar, showcasing sticky, sweet pale and caramel malt flavors that are backed by even more sweetness from the maple syrup bourbon barrel. As the nose implies, there's more bourbon than maple syrup here, though I do get a nice maple undertone. The body feels a bit thin to me, and the finish is more dry than expected, and slightly astringent. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, which is certainly impressive given the 11.9% ABV. Quite good overall, but not a total knock-out like CBS.

largadeer, Apr 04, 2012
Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft, served in a small goblet that held 10 oz. at most.

Copper color, transparent when held to the light. A cirrus skim melted across the surface, looking like a smudged melting marshmallow. Some lingering webs of lace stuck around the edges.

Pungent bourbon aromas of toasted coconut, vanilla and brown sugar. Slightly sweet with a little hint of maple woodiness.

Tasted similar, some mellow oaky traces dried things out, along with some caramel flavor and maraschino juice astringency from the alcohol... Big on the vanilla/brown sugar/maple combo with a significant alcohol presence from the barrel. Lingering bourbon traces in the aftertaste. It's well blended and fairly drinkable, medium bodied and sticky on the lips. Overall, it's worth trying or looking for, but not really worth any extra hoop-jumping to buy a bottle.

emerge077, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, maple and some strong bourbon notes. Mild vanilla and oak aromas, too.

T - It tasted of bourbon and maple with a toffee backbone. There are mild oak flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This is a really unique beer. I liked the maple flavors. Another great rare beer from Founders.

zeff80, Mar 01, 2012
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.

StonedTrippin, Oct 06, 2013
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.88/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

WVbeergeek, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of jlindros
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

jlindros, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

feloniousmonk, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev -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.

drabmuh, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

oline73, May 26, 2012
Photo of Rifugium
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Rifugium, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of mendvicdog
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

mendvicdog, Oct 01, 2012
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.

mdfb79, Mar 21, 2012
Photo of beernads
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

beernads, May 09, 2013
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 DrunkinYogi
4/5  rDev -7.2%

DrunkinYogi, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

oriolesfan4, Mar 26, 2014
Photo of imperialking
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

imperialking, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of InspectorBob
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

InspectorBob, May 20, 2013
Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

drewone, Sep 20, 2013
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.