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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

896 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 896
Reviews: 225
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 10.88%
Wants: 382
Gots: 372 | 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: 896 | Reviews: 225 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2012 15:14:50 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev -19%

01-23-2013 05:33:18 | More by Kelp
Photo of sendbeer
sendbeer

Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

11-01-2012 15:22:49 | More by sendbeer
Photo of billab914
billab914

Virginia

4.33/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2012 21:53:43 | More by billab914
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 04:05:44 | More by Brad007
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

4/5  rDev -7.4%

01-21-2013 18:28:10 | More by THECPJ
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

01-19-2013 15:09:28 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of drummermattie02
drummermattie02

Texas

4/5  rDev -7.4%

08-18-2013 12:55:00 | More by drummermattie02
Photo of xnicknj
xnicknj

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-13-2012 14:01:28 | More by xnicknj
Photo of Zaphog
Zaphog

Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

02-13-2012 22:48:46 | More by Zaphog
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 14:36:16 | More by tobelerone
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 01:32:46 | More by BeerFMAndy
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jrallen34

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -24.8%

01-22-2013 01:24:56 | More by jrallen34
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2013 03:23:38 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.7/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2012 22:47:49 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 14:47:33 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2012 16:17:21 | More by ShanePB
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 14:32:06 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, maple and a faint bourbon note. In the taste, sweet vanilla and bourbon, and the alcohol sneaks up in the end. A small alcohol bite and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry vanilla and hint of alcohol in the aftertaste. Big bourbon with a nice sweet maple, very smooth and quite sneaky.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2012 19:10:14 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz courtesy od Cuzco pours a clearish crimson color with a large and frothy tan head. Awesome retention and lacing.

Holy shit this smells amazing! Toasted coconut, bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt and molasses. Absolutely one of the best smelling beers I have ever laid nose upon.

Man, this beer is tasty. Lots of syrupy sweetness and toffee with a gentle nudge of leafy hops. The sweetness is big but the toasty coconut is so wonderful that cloying never even enters the picture. Nice alcohol complexity, very earthy. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect as it is creamy, woody and soft. Love it! One of the best beers I have had in a loooong time.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 03:39:57 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of chippo33
chippo33

Vermont

3/5  rDev -30.6%

12-04-2012 04:05:07 | More by chippo33
Photo of WOLFGANG
WOLFGANG

South Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +10%

06-30-2013 13:55:03 | More by WOLFGANG
Photo of iL0VEbeer
iL0VEbeer

New Jersey

4.75/5  rDev +10%

09-29-2012 17:51:24 | More by iL0VEbeer
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mcgwire756.

Pours a hazy bright ruby color with a small but frothy off white head that leaves some nice sticky solid lacing as the head recedes. I am really impressed with the sticky lacing; enticing to say the least.

The aromas begin with sweet, malt-forward notes scented of caramel candy, dark brown sugar and maple. Oak tannins and bourbon emerge more and more as it warms. Boozy spirit aromas continue to emerge and is eventually all I can discern.

The tastes follow the nose initially with sweet malt and maple notes starting off. Then I get the oak, vanilla and darker caramel candy flavor. Solid caramelized brown sugar maltiness and light cocoa is complemented but the underlying bourbon presence emerges more and more as it warms.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is definitely sweet but stays away from being cloying thanks to the oak/bourbon barrel aging which imparts a slight dryness into the finish.

Overall, this beer initially did not impress me and the aromas really never did, but as it warmed the flavor profile really came into its own and become really enjoyable. I have been very non-into overly bourbon strong beers, which I assumed this would be from the aroma, but the old ale style flavor profile highlighted by caramelized malts and maple sugar sweetness counteracts the brash bourbon and oak barrel highlights. Not sure if this is really an Old Ale per say (I don't think the base beer is a great example either, so that makes sense), but I am pleased by the drinkability and elegant flavor profile of this offering so early in its inception. Well worth seeking out and recommended for fans of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2012 01:42:52 | More by claspada
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours deep, clear amber with a big creamy beige head that leaves a solid bubbly cap on top. Really good lacing as well, especially for a barrel-aged beer.

Aroma is big on the bourbon up front with lots of vanilla and oak. The caramel and toffee of the underlying beer are still noticeable as well as some booze-soaked dark fruits.

The taste is super sweet but has a spicy kick up front from some combination of oak and maybe hops. The backbone is full of vanilla, caramel malts, maple syrup and treacle. The finish has an interesting bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth with soft carbonation and really sticky on the palate with the heavy sweetness lingering after each sip.

As usual, Founders has made a fantastic barrel-aged beer. It's certainly sweet but the barrel enhances the underlying beer. Fantastic stuff.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 04:31:45 | More by gford217
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 896 ratings.