1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

942 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 942
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 404
Gots: 371 | 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:
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 942 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
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 dtx00
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Zeller12
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of hangar9
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of BrokenStones
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazed rust/copper. Head is minimal and drops to a small ring in short order. Some of the haze drops as the beer warms.

Smell: Faint hints of bourbon, earth, and vanilla. Some sweetness jumps out front. Sharp bite of booze with a faint dusting of citrusy hops. Musty. Nice touches of bready malts and caramel sweetness. Maple sneaks through the back.

Taste: Malts like whoa. Sweet with caramel and toffee tones. Bourbon is prevalent and adds a big helping of vanilla and oak. Nice heat from the alcohol. Maple is buried on the finish of the sip. Very clean syrup flavor. Less aggressive than expected. Earthy musty finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body that comes in a bit thinner than expected. Carbonation is also a bit higher than I would expect from the style. Barrel aging seems to have thinned the base beer a bit. Alcohol dries the sips out.

Overall: A nice take on the barrel aged beer. The old ale really takes the bourbon flavors and uses them well. Maybe some age would round out some of the rougher edges and provide a bit more complexity.

Photo of mtrog313
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of kawilliams81
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Bell's tulip.

A- Pours a cloudy, dark caramel with a 1 finger off-white head. Ring of lacing stays on the glass.

S- Toasted and amber malts, maple syrup, and some vanilla.

T- Sweet toasted malts, maple syrup and a little vanilla.

M- Full body with medium carbonation, and slight alcohol burn at the finish.

O- Good old ale, but expected more from the hype that came with it. Would like to try again with a year or so on it.

Photo of DCon
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 22oz Bottle of this from Friar Tuck's in Crestwood, MO for $17.99. Poured from the bottle w/ Curmudgeon about to enjoy some pancakes w/ syrup & his wife next to him into a 12oz Snifter Glass. Has no bottle date to be found.

Aroma- Hmmm... Whats in here? No nose on this one at all... Malt and touch of alcohol but nothing else pops out.

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that has average retention. Has a semi-cloudy, dark copper/amber colored body. Leaves tons of suds behind.

Flavor- Has the sweetest caramel and then maple syrup flavors. Awesome here! A nice butterscotch flavor comes over the palate as well. Light alcohol and light bitterness. Smooth at the finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light Carbonation, Smooth, Easy on the palate, and sweetness finishes this one off. A slight syrupy and sticky feel also is on the palate.

Overall Impression- Talk about a hyped up brew last month! I bought 2 bottles of this, one for a trade with cousin and other to enjoy myself. I was pretty let down... The nose definitely didn't do anything but the flavor was nice. Would have liked to see a more chewy and fuller bodied beer here. See what you think...

Photo of McNuts
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of DarthGuitarHero
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of cjacobsen
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of uvm2003
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

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 Sender
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of Jose2412
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

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

A: Pours a creamy looking light caramel color with some larger bubbles at the edges and white powdery lacing on the top.

S: Roasted sugars, caramel , toffee and leather.

T: Toffee, caramel, tons of butterscotch flavors mixing with a slight vodka , silent alcohol booze presence. Lets not forget that vodka is supposed to be nearly flavor free except for a few subleties. I think the important thing to know is that some of the oak and maple oak flavors have sneaked in here from the barrel aging program and I can definitely taste them. Maple is very subdued, but present if you can get past the sugar caramelization, leather and oak. This is a very smooth sipping olde ale and I can thoroughly enjoy it.

M: Mouthfeel is amazing. This is one of the smoothest forgiving olde ales that I have had in a long while. While Old Curmudgeon never really lit my fire, this clearly is a more mature version of the old ale in a cask.

O: Would drink this anytime I could find it. There are many great old ales out there, but not too many smoother than this.

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.

Photo of jtingue
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. Clear reddish brown. Pours with half a finger of head. No retention, but great alcohol feet.

Smell Sweet with molasses and maple syrup. Slightly fruity in the background with some berry notes. Some bourbon presence in the background as well.

Taste. Starts slightly bitter, surprising for how much aging it has been through. Sweetness starts to balance this out, and eventually takes over. It blooms in to full on maple syrup from a more subtle molasses flavor. THe finish is sweet, but with a lingering earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel. Nice thick body, low carbonation. A perfect sipper.

I was actually a bit disappointed with this one, but that says more about my expectations. For me it was too similar to Backwoods Bastard. The smell was a bit overpowering with sweetness, though I did not find this to be true in the taste.

Photo of GORUM
5/5  rDev +16%

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.

Photo of mdimeglio
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Gmann
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep toasted khaki color with ruby highlights. The beige head is thin and wispy. Looks a bit lifeless.

The aroma is quite malty and bready. Honey sweetness and candied fruit hit the nose first. Rich caramel notes with slight hints of toffee. Light bourbon and vanilla as well.

The taste is big on caramel and vanilla. Honey and candied fruit bring additional sweetness. Not a lot of dark fruit flavors. I get a lot of Dolche de Leche flavors with a light bourbon note, as if you added a little bit of bourbon to a vanilla milk shake. There seems to be a slight berry sweetness in the end. Not much from the maple but it does seem to add a layer to the velvty smooth caramel and vanilla. Quite malty overall.

Moderate feel with some prickly carbonation. Very smooth body. Definitely sweet on the palate but not cloying; it does finish with some stickiness. ABV seems well hidden.

An enjoyable old ale. Quite sweet with the caramel and vanilla notes. Doesn't have those oxidized dark fruit notes that most old ales seem to have.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to TATURBO for sharing this bottle! Thanks Chris!

reviewed from notes taken on 2/24/12.

poured into snifter.

Appearance: Amber / copper colored beer with a small tan head that drops to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Maple, caramel, and candied sugar. The smell of a big malty profile in this beer. It smells really sweet too.

Taste: its really sweet upfront. Caramel, maple sugar, candied sugar, toffee, and butterscotch. The beer has a mildly astrigent finish with a really mild booziness that is warming more than anything.

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer with low carbonation. Syrupy and its a sipper beer for sure.

Overall: This Old Ale is really big and really sweet. Big maple notes from the barrel aging. Share this bottle don't try and drink the 750 bottle all by yourself it would be a tough task. I would have like to see more smoke notes and other flavors that were lost from the base beer. It would have given a nice balance to the beer. had this beer on draft at Founders a long time ago when it was called Kaiser Curmudgeon; really think that I enjoyed it more that day than from the bottle. Still a good beer by Founders.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 942 ratings.