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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

928 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 928
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 403
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: 928 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

brandoman63, May 05, 2013
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.

John_M, Oct 02, 2012
Photo of rab53
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

rab53, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -13%

KAF, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of Kelp
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Kelp, Jan 23, 2013
Photo of billab914
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

billab914, Apr 22, 2012
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

iL0VEbeer, Sep 29, 2012
Photo of sendbeer
3.75/5  rDev -13%

sendbeer, Nov 01, 2012
Photo of ShanePB
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

ShanePB, Feb 27, 2012
Photo of Zaphog
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Zaphog, Feb 13, 2012
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Alieniloquium, Jul 18, 2012
Photo of Cynic-ale
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Cynic-ale, Sep 07, 2013
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 HuskyinPDX
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 3.29.13

A - Pours a dark carmel brown with a small light tan head with good retention.

S - Bourbon, maple, molasses. As advertised.

T - Rich carmel and toffee, then some licorice, bourbon and oak in the finish.

D - Heavier body with good carbonation.

O - Lots of bourbon and molasses make this a sweet carmel bourbon delight.

HuskyinPDX, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of tobelerone
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with a finger of off-white head that settles slowly to a thin band. Patchy lacing on the glass. Good clarity. Aroma is somewhat boozy and sweet, with mild maple notes, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and a prominent oakiness.

Complex flavor with subtler maple than anticipated as well as lower overall sweetness. All elements are well-integrated: maple, brown sugar and toffee, bourbon, vanilla, some darker fruits; oak barrel character; raisins and toasted malt.

Medium to slightly full bodied, with moderate carbonation. A little lighter than I’d like but still very smooth. I almost want a more syrupy mouthfeel as that would befit the maple character well. Overall a strong and boozy treat and a pretty damn tasty one. Falls a little short of being truly exceptional but still a very interesting beer. Wish I had a few more to enjoy over time.

tobelerone, Jul 10, 2012
Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -30.4%

chippo33, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of Brad007
3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has been lounging in my fridge for a while.

Pours a beautiful, if cloudy amber with a one-finger head into my glass.

Maple, molasses and bourbon stand out on the nose. Plum too. Very sweet.

Lots of bourbon upfront that's easily quelled by molasses and maple as well. Mildly syrupy, tart. Drinks more like a strong ale at times.

Warms the throat very well. Mellow with just hints of maple left for flavor at the back.

Whoa. Should have saved this for the first snowfall of winter.

Brad007, Aug 04, 2012
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.

TheSevenDuffs, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of drummermattie02
4/5  rDev -7.2%

drummermattie02, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.75/5  rDev -13%

TurdFurgison, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -7.2%

THECPJ, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of xnicknj
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the sidecar

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange with a light crop of white head on top. Retains for a bit with some spotty lacing and film while drinking.

Potent maple syrup laced with bourbon in the nose. Syrupy sweet with layers of malt and toasted oak. Brown sugar and caramel with some dark fruit as well. Very rich and inviting.

Boozy warmth right up front with strong bourbon tempered by the silky sweetness of maple syrup. Burnt brown sugar and caramel add to the sweetness, followed by an assortment of dark fruits including raisins and dates. Roasted malts with more boozy warmth towards the finish which is sticky and hot with lingering effects of maple.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, syrupy, sticky, and smooth on the tongue. A deliciously rich barrel aged beer - the sweetness can be slightly overbearing at points but I still really enjoyed every drop.

xnicknj, Oct 13, 2012
Photo of vfgccp
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Barcade, founders tap night

A - Low white head, poor retention and lace. Hazy ice tea body.

S - Maple syrup, brown sugar, scotch, vanilla, black cherry.

T - Caramel, coffee creamer, cherry concentrate, scotch, vanilla, vanilla wafers, lemon frosting.

M - About as smooth as you could ever ask for. Full, creamy body; but not syrupy.

O - Drinks like Scotch with an incredibly smooth, sweet honey finish.

vfgccp, Nov 29, 2012
Photo of jrallen34
3.25/5  rDev -24.6%

jrallen34, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of BeerFMAndy
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml capped bottle poured into a Founders CBS snifter.
11.9% ABV, no date found.

A - Pouring colored like maple syrup, the beer is a sexy rusted hull ruby color that's fairly hazy. Frothy ivory foam caps the beer. Great retention for the large alcohol percent leaves tiny patches of lace on the glass. Legs that would make ZZ Top's collective heads spin drape down the snifter post swirl.

S - I'm momentarily rendered speechless by this aroma... Voluptuous, smooth-as-velvet maple and bourbon turn into sanded, fresh oak and gooey caramel. Hints of molasses-draped white grape and candied almond pop through the intensely malty old ale. Curmudgeon's Better Half finishes with a warm solvent touch of alcohol.

T - Almost completely unique from the aroma, Better Half transforms, equally amazingly, in flavor. Smooth maple syrup is sticky sweet with melted caramel cube and faint wood hints. Low fruit undertones complete the complex ensemble though the alcohol phenols.

M - Softer than a baby's bum, smoother than velvet, almost creamy but not cloying or syrupy in it's abundant sweetness, the balance is unsurpassed. Medium-full in body, Curmudgeon's Better Half has a seemingly endlessly lingering finish that's just a touch dry. Warming alcohol remains present throughout but for how fresh and how large the percent is, Curmudgeon's Better Half is surprisingly mellow.

O - What's there too say that hasn't already been said? Founders flawlessly ages their malty old ale in perfect maple bourbon barrels to create one of the smoothest, most complex...well, best beers the world has ever seen.

If there's one thing I take pride in, it's my objection for feeding a hype-train. Especially when it's a large, barrel aged beer hype-train. Additionally, it's not often that I deem a beer perfect. Therefor, I find it important to note that there really isn't a single aspect of Curmudgeon's Better Half (CBH - coining it!) that I would change. If you can find this beer, do NOT hesitate to get a bottle.

BeerFMAndy, Feb 17, 2012
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 928 ratings.