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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

936 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 936
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 406
Gots: 377 | FT: 15
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: 936 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigfnjoe
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of jampics2
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

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

Poured from bomber (2011 vintage) into a tulip glass. Pours nut brown/reddish with a white one-finger head. Lacings last very nicely throughout. Defiintely pick up maple syrup as advertised along with bourbon and some butter. Flavors of maple syrup is pronounced here, butter, and molasses. Thin headed with good carbonation. There is a bitter back finish after each sip. As much as I love the label, this beer is a bit uninteresting like the regular Curmudgeon. In any case, glad to have finally tried this one out from one of my favorite breweries.

Photo of MDDMD
4.7/5  rDev +9%
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

Photo of jegross2
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company. This is the third beer in the 750 ml bottle Backstage Series release, the other two being Blushing Monk and Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). This beer used to be know as "Kaiser Curmudgeon," but Founders recently re-branded it. I believe that Founders' Old Curmudgeon, an absolutely divine old ale, is the base beer for this one.
Score: 95

February 2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 02/18/12 with a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber/mahogany color with a layer of yellow highlights atop the beer. A finger and a half of off-white/tan sea foam head at pour settles into a very thin ring around the glass. Excellent lacing, excellent retention. The lacing gradually changes from frothy to oily as it warms. 4.5/5

Smell: Brown sugar, vanilla, sweet raisin/fig, creamy malt, molasses and a little caramel-infused alcohol ester. There is a very light straight bourbon aroma. Hint of oak, hint of citrus and a little spice too. 4.5/5

Taste: Very smooth, balanced and complex. Tons of sweet maple and sweet vanilla upfront. Bourbon malt (caramel?), caramelized brown sugar, molasses/pancake syrup and chewy bourbon soaked raisins on the midpalate. Very faint oak on the midpalate too. A little alcohol warmth, but not nearly as much as you'd expect from a 12% ABV beer. This brew finishes and lingers with sweet maple/pancake syrup and caramel/bourbon malt. As it warms, a straight bourbon flavor comes out on the midpalate and towards the finish. Pairs excellently with the pancakes. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, minimal carbonation. Smooth/creamy mouthfeel with a little alcohol prickliness. Sweet and slightly sticky finish. 4/5

Overall: A superior barrel aged beer. Founders, the midwest's best brewery, makes a few better beers than this one, and it's not quite up to par with CBS, but Curmudgeon's Better Half is a beer that is absolutely worth seeking out. Sweet (though I have had sweeter), drinkable, and loaded with complex flavor. Is it worth the $18 price tag? Absolutely. However, you can get several equally good beers, such as Oak Aged Yeti, cheaper and easier. I cannot wait for Founders to package and sell the Cashew Mountain Brown.

Recommendation: Seek this brew out, but be forewarned -- this one is on the sweeter side (though I have had plenty of sweeter beers).

Pairings: Chocolate chip pancakes.

Cost: $17.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

Photo of CTJman
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

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.

Photo of Zbeetleman
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of ElGallo
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Bierguy5
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Lucky's anniversary party. Cloudy orange to amber color. Head disappears quickly, but does leave a few spots of lace.

Fruity, toffee and caramel aroma, laced with a nice amount of bourbon, oak and maple.

Great maltiness of Curmudgeon up front. Toffee, a bit of fig and ripe fruit. Bourbon notes come in, with some oak tannin and a hint of maple syrup.

Medium to almost full body, good amount of carbonation. Some warmth, but it is ok in this beer. I love what the barrel adds to this already awesome beer. Great stuff

Photo of JRod1969
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of BAsbill
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of david131
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice ruby red with some brown highlights and a thin but creamy white head. There are a lot of floaters in it, but it doesn't take away from the appearance too much.

S- Vanilla, oak, raisins, brown sugar, and alcohol. Very aromatic, complex, and appealing.

T- Vanilla, maple syrup, brown sugar, and alcohol. Complex and maybe a bit young.

M- The carbonation is nice and the alcohol is most definitely apparent because of the warmth.

O- Complex, tasty, boozy, and well made.

Photo of inlimbo77
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. 2012 batch. Poured this one into my Lost Abbey tulip. Enjoyed right after Old Curmudgeon for comparison.

A: This one pours out much deeper than the regular Old Curmudgeon brew. Looks to be a deeper, mildly hazy, amber color. About a finger of off white head initially. Definitely getting some sticky lacing with the swirl. Alcohol feet for sure on this big beer.

S: Right away sweet maltiness and the typical BA'ing notes. Lots of vanilla, oak, toasted caramel, toffee, sweet brown sugar, molasses, etc. Smells really inviting.

T: There is a slight bitterness up front, but really this is a sweet malt bomb. The flavor is actually more flavorful than the nose. You definitely get that maple syrup goodness in there still. Also the BA'ing brings that vanilla from the oak out too. That toasted caramel/toffee is there too. Lots of stuff going on here. I do get a touch of heat during the sip though. Not offensive by any means, but at close to 12% there is some heat.

M: This is a full bodied beer for sure.

O: Really enjoyed this one. I have to score it a little higher than the regular Old Curmudgeon because of the overall flavor bomb that it brings, but that is by no means a knock on the regular.

M: Medium to big and FULL

Photo of n2185
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear copper with a finger of off-white head that recedes into a thin layer with a little layer.

S: The aroma is dominated by vanilla and maple syrup. Bourbon, oak, and caramel also are present. There are also some slight flora citrus notes.

T: Maple dominates on the tongue, though it's not overwhelmingly sweet. Caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon are also present throughout. The finish has a slight alcohol burn.

M: Thick body with low carbonation, this beer is thick and sticky sweet, though not overly so.

O: A very good beer, overall. Lots of nice maple and bourbon characteristics in the nose and palate. It is a little on the sweet side, but not by much.

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

Big thanks to tobelerone for sending this one. Poured into a Russian River glass.

Lighter in color than I expected. A kinda-clear copper, with the shadows of objects visible on the other side. The head gets about half an inch tall and is a very light sand color. Some spotted lace on the sides of the glass. 4

Smells like a caramel apple. Lots of the sugary stuff, with maple and buttery oak as backup. Brown sugar and a hint of spicy hops.

Same deal in the flavor — it’s like a maple-drenched slice of red apple. Caramel, burnt sugar, apple, butter, vanilla, toffee, pretty big alcohol, toast. Smooth, sweet blend. Vanilla and booze carry into the finish.

Lightly carbonated, just a soft nudge. The medium-light body is a little more thin than I’d like. Alcohol is big in the flavor but doesn’t show up in the feel, and with 12 percent ABV, this is a major feat.

Curmudgeon’s Better Half paired absolutely perfectly with an apple tart provided by rickyn06. The cinnamon in the tart works crazily well with the maple in the beer. Brings out the toastiness as well.

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of JohnnieNepal
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of bonbini26
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 7oz tasting glass on tap at The Royale.

Pours a nice dark amber/copper color with some murky notes. There is a thin off-white head that forms with some dense bubbles that recedes quickly but leaves some lacing and goes down to a thin film.

Aroma starts off with strong caramel and molasses notes and rich oily malt sweetness. Nice notes of maple syrup sweetness with some nice woody oak notes as well. Vanilla spice and some booze can be perceived as this 12% brew shows itself in the nose.

Very sweet taste similar to the nose. Not too intense or overwhelming but definitely a sipper. Caramel, molasses, vanilla and maple syrup are main contributors. There is some woody notes on the midlle-back end and some nice Bourbon notes in there as well. Slight heat but not off putting even though it makes this beer a sipper. Nice oily, slick and velvety feel with good low enough carbonation too highlight the flavors but still give the beer a nice full feel.

Founders has knocked it out of the park so far with their Backstage Series. Im curious to see what they come up with next. Great BA Old Ale with awesome bourbon notes, great sweetness and the maple, oh the maple.

Photo of bobv
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jaasen64
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

A- Pours a translucent brownish amber, slightly hazy. About a finger of off-white brownish head that dissipates fast.

S- Sweet maple syrup, booze (bourbon), smells almost exactly like maple whiskeys that I've had. Sweet sugary maple syrup definitely dominates the smell. Hint of oak.

T- Very sweet maple syrup with a little bit of vanilla. Very delicious almost like drinking maple candy, not too sweet though. Slight wood taste (oak).

M- Slightly syrupy, a little bit on the heavy side, but not too heavy. Smooth and very well balanced. Goes down very easy and alcohol is very hard to detect.

O- This was a fantastic beer, the taste was absolutely delicious. The maple syrup barrel definitely comes out in the beer with the wood and maple syrup taste. From what I remember, this beer had a little bit more of a maple syrup flavor and definitely more of a wood taste then the regular Curmudgeon. Definitely recommended if you can get your hands on some.

Photo of Mantooth
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of thebigredone
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 936 ratings.