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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

949 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 949
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 408
Gots: 371 | FT: 14
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
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Ratings: 949 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.72/5  rDev -13.7%
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
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
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
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
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
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Photo of zep9865
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed with aasher on 2/28. Poured into aecht schlenferla snifter. Pours a beatiful mahogany with a slight ring of white foam head. If you tilt the glass you can see this beer's wonderful residual sugar

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, raisins dates, and ahhh maple syrup. Alcohol appears to be well masked.

Vanilla and bourbon are sharp, followed by lingering maple syrup and some booze. Lots of raisins and a little bit of nut as well.

Nice balance of maple syrup and bourbon without an overly boozy finish.

What a treat. Didn't think that goose could be competed with in the bourbon beer category.

Photo of aasher
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with zep9865.

This beer pours a light bodied, sticky rich amber in color with a soapy lacing around the glass. The nose is very soft toffee, vanilla, candied malt, and an ever so slight touch of bourbon. The noses is soft and sweet. The flavors consist of toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, slight bourbon (especially as it warms), and candied malts. Great flavor. It is definitely on the sweet side. This is a nice beer to share and overall is a fine old ale. I love when breweries have the balls to make a beer like this. Barrel aged old ales are something that I hope becomes more and more popular. This was a really nice beer and I appreciated how the bourbon came through as it warmed (unlike CBS). This one was a treat, and on the dessert side, but a treat nonetheless.

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.53/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= Poured amber- copper in color in color small head that was kind of tan in color. The head disappeared rather fast a little bit of spotty lacing. It's a really good looking beer.

S= As far as the nose is concerned the main notes are vanilla and bourbon are really strong and almost overpower the beer. The are some other notes in this beer like toffee and brown sugar that subtle but mainly the notes that stood out for me are the bourbon and vanilla.

T= In the taste the sweet caramel and toffee come out a little bit more but overall the bourbon is the main taste that comes out for me. I really do think that it overpowers the beer but you do get more of the sweet notes as a mentioned before like the toffee, caramel, and brown sugar.

M= Rich and Smooth. I think it is more of a full bodied beer because of the sweetness of the beer light in carbonation.

O= Overall, I would rate probably lower than most would because I didn't like all the bourbon in it. I'm glad I got to try it but probably wouldn't try it again unless it was on draft or something I'm going to trade some of my other bottles of this because maybe other people will enjoy it more than me and I'll get to try some stuff that I want to try.

Photo of mz3frs
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Med caramel with a thin head
N:Aroma is mostly of oak, a bit of alcohol
T:Vanilla, bourbon are the primary flavors I get. The maple comes through as it warms. A little boozy. Malt gets lost in the oak.
M: Full bodied, low cabonation
O: An enjoyable beer!

Photo of JRod1969
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of rapidsequence
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle. $22 (!) from Ned's. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear reddish-copper color with a thin off white head. Some retention and pretty nice lacing.

Smell: This is a big, rich smelling beer. Sweet, heavy malt with caramel and fruity flavors. Brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla. Fantastic.

Taste: As expected, sticky sweet caramel covered fruit soaked in bourbon. Very nice vanilla notes, maybe some coconut, and soft banana. There's some alcohol taste and bitterness in the finish, but its not hot, and it balances the significant sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Its not as heavy and sticky as I expected, but still quite heavy and sticky. The relative lightness makes it much more drinkable than if it were thicker.

Overall: A delicious beast of a beer.

Photo of msuspartan22
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of mugsy62388
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: Pours a nice golden but moreso brownish color that is quite hazy and has a two finger creamy head that is quite frothy and light tan in color and lingers very nicely, leaves
S: smells really delicious, tons of bourbon notes and a slight sweet note at the front end which i would imagine is from the molasses and maple syrup
T: begins with a great molasses note then kicks in with a really beautiful and warming bourbon note, finishes surprisingly smooth and clean
M: has a very thick feeling on the palate, the middle kicks with a real strong taste from the bourbon, not bad at all, finishes just slightly dry
O: really really loved this beer, such a great taste and so smooth for the incredible complexity of it, shes a beauty

Photo of wmcconvi
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is not for drinking by the pint. Good lord. Nose, Taste, and Feel: Molasses is clear, maple syrup, diacetyl, crazy dark fruits in the nose, creamy, rum-cake, alcohol, butter . . . bourbon, vanilla, chewy. This is crazy, crazy good. I would prefer a 5 ounce pour, though, especially at 12% . . . but if i gotta drink the whole bomber, I gotta drink the whole bomber.

Photo of abraxel
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of ShanePB
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of Mag00n
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of JizackFH
4.97/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #600

A - This beer pours a nice mahogany red color that glows when held to the light. There is a little more than a finger of slightly off-white head resting on top. The head has pretty good retention, and it leaves behind just a few specs of lace on the glass.

S –The nose is of maple syrup and bourbon aromas. There is some roasted malt, as well as a nice amount of dark fruits. I am getting some Raisin, Fig, plum, and some cherry. There are also some aromas of caramel, candied sugar, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, and some booze. It is a very complex and delightful nose.

T – The taste follows the nose. It starts off with some sweet caramel and dark fruit flavors. I am tasting plum, fig, and raisin. There is definitely some sweet maple syrup flavor coming through. Also, I am getting some caramel, toffee, molasses, and vanilla. There is a very mild hop presence here as well. There is a little bit of booziness in the taste, but it tastes no where near 11.9%. In the finish all the flavors seem to come through and linger for a moment or two. There are a lot of flavors going on here, very complex.

M – This has a medium body and lower carbonation. It goes down easy and has a smooth rich feel to it. There is also a bit of a chewy quality to it. There is a big sweetness here, but there is some balance to it from a mild hop presence and maybe a little roasted malt. There is some boozy warmth in the finish that slightly warms all the way down to your belly. I think this is a perfect feel for this beer.

O – This has awesome drinkability. It is definitely a sipper, but it is just delicious and hard to put down. It is a big malty sweet slightly boozy wonderful old ale. Overall, it is just an awesome beer, and an excellent example of this style. This is just a nearly perfect beer for me. I highly recommend trying it if you find it. I really wish I would have been able to find another bottle so I could share it with people that couldn’t find one. I will definitely but this again If I get the chance.

Photo of KevSal
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ive really been looking forward to this one since hearing about the kaiser. another big thanks to dblab, man really appreciate it buddy!

750ml shared with my better half into 2 eclipse snifters.

a- wow this guy comes out super light, for some reason i was expecting something darker like a ba barelwine. this one appears thick. looks a lot like a big regular barleywine, deep copper yellowish/orange. very thin head that dissappears in seconds.

s- awesome! huge maple bourbon up front, toffee , lots of sweetness with slight alch in the finish. definitly good stuff here.

t-follows the nose with a good amount of the base beer coming through. nice maple throughout with a some bitterness coming through as too, not sure from what exactly. slight alch on the finish, right amount for me.

m- thick body, well carbonated (maybe a bit too much) but not sticky as it appears to be.

o- very good beer, glad i got to try it, this one taste like it will age magnificently, i think i have what im drinking next valentines day! my lady made her to glasses dissappear like it was water.
the maple syrup really adds another level on this one, and sets it apart from others in this style (ba4d and afam ftw)

Photo of Blanco
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Egor1020
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 949 ratings.