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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

943 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 943
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 405
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
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Ratings: 943 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of mcallister
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of ASUBeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

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 Stumpy29er
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of dasmusik
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of claytong
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of salinasa
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of creaghphish
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of jstewart1130
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of kingcrowing
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a hill farmstead tulip.

Pours a deep hazy amber brown with a very small and thin light brown head. Nose is malty, sweet, a bit of maple, well balanced.

Taste is awesome, old ales are generally a fairly dull style for me but these magic barrels really take it up a notch, mellow and sweet with a good amount of maple and bourbon. Not quite up to CBS but the character of the barrels still comes through. Mouthfeel is full and a bit syrupy with a crisp finish. Little bit of booze as well but it's far from overwhelming.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Man, I am I glad to get a bottle of this. Wish I had a couple more to put back but many thanks to my pal who landed this. You know who you are.
appearance: Clear bronze, regal I have to say. The Curmudgeon must be a Duke or somethin. Not much head to speak of but nice lingering wisps of lacing.
smell: Not as in the face as expected, though a lot goin on. Most prominent is the bourbon, though not dominating at all. Balanced with a sweetness that must be the molasses and/or maple. Man, there's oak and some spice. Fantastic. Now, I'm really wanting another to lay down a bottle or 2. If this nose becomes more pronounced without losing balance it will be transcendent.
taste: This! So full and rich and somehow so gentle. All the nose in a power-packed fist in a velvet glove.
All hail Founders! Please make more.

Photo of pgaveau
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of ctc862
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of bootsdomino
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of jnikkel
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of redfacedshooter
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of JayS2629
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a nice, cloudy amber with a three finger thick, tan, creamy head with nice retention and huge, thick creamy walls.

Amazingly complex with oak, maple, toffee, and huge toasted coconut. Hints of vanilla, caramel, toffee, and bourbon. Buttery edges with a boozy hit. Cocoa notes and peanut brittle.

Full, big toffee throughout with vanilla hints and huge bites of toasted cocounut. Rum bite with grassy hints. Seet maple middle with woody oak edges. Rich, malty, complex and delicious. Molasis, licorice hints with some herbal notes.

Rich, smooth, balanced, warming and syrupy finish.

Complex, delicious, sweet, rich, warming and balanced sipper. Amazing!

Photo of raymo55
4/5  rDev -7.2%

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

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a hazy dark purplish brown hue with a very slowly settling tan head. Bubbles rise through the beer like Neo dodging bullets in The Matrix. The liquid flows slowly but the bubbles flow even slower.

S: Smells sweet with caramel malt and red grapes with some alcohol twinge that favors the dark intricacies of bourbon or even cognac. Hints of potpourri and bright, sweet spiciness linger lightly on the nose; it’s curious, indeed.

T/M: Feel is very thick in the mouth; the bubbles didn’t lie. Caramel sweetness, molasses and alcohol twinge approach at first leading towards biscuit maltiness and touches of more red grape on the finish. Carbonation feels sharp at first but fades quickly.

This is a surprisingly thick, gracefully smooth, and elegantly complex beer. Would I put it on my pancakes? Probably. But then again, would I put any beer on my pancakes? Probably. Try this one if you have the chance, with or without pancakes.

TheBeerAlmanac.com

Photo of siege06nd
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my CBS snifter...

A: Pours a slightly cloudy, bright ruby copper. About a half finger of cream colored head settles to a quarter finger. Pretty good lacing down the sides of the glass and good retention. The color is incredibly radiant and contrasts nicely with the head. I'm giving this a big thumbs up.

S: Lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, biscuit malt, and oak.

T: The maple syrup is most apparent, along with molasses, vanilla, and caramel. Some dark fruit is back there also, as well as some light chocolate. The finish is very boozy and very tannic from the wood. Lingering bitterness after the finish from the woodiness. I know I described a lot of flavors, but they are all a bit muddled and the profile here becomes a bit one-not. Sweetness and booziness reign supreme, and complexity lacks ever so slightly.

M: A little thin. Full bodied, but all sweetness and booze. Give me some more malt presence, some more carbonation, and a greater evolution of flavor. This is where the Better Half takes a hit, and I think the blame can be pointed squarely at the Curmudgeon Old Ale base beer. I always thought it was a touch too thin and light. The barrel treatment in this beer certainly adds to it, but all the things the barrel imparts: sweetness, syrup, and woody tannins are a little too heavily weighted, mainly because the base beer can't balance them.

O: This is a solid brew and I am certainly happy Founders bottled it. But I don't think the base beer is enough to withstand a barrel treatment. What you end up with is a sugary, boozy ale, with some lingering complexities that are far too tepid. Certainly not bad, but not great. Probably my least favorite of the 750 mL releases up to this point.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You know you’ve really been anticipating a beer when you crack it open as soon as you get home from the bottle shop…at 4:00 in the afternoon. And for review #200, I have the perfect beer-thirty special: Founders Curmudgeon’s Better Half, the next beer in their epic Backstage series. After sampling their standard Old Curmudgeon, I fell in love with the old ale style, and this should be just as great. And now, after 199 reviews, Founders has rightly become my favorite all-around brewery; thanks for all the great beer moments, guys.

A: Bold, shining amber body, like a bottle of light maple syrup. An impressive creamy head of tan foam, getting at least three fingers high before slowly drifting down to a thin layer of meringue. Lacing is thick, an all-encompassing cream circling the glass.

S: All the old ale aromas roll right out of the nose: vanilla, caramel malts, molasses, and dark fruits (raisin, mostly). The gang’s all here, but under a creamy blanket of bourbon – a bold, spicy scent. From the wood-aging, there’s an abundance of really forward woody notes: oaky bourbon, coconut liqueur, and buttery pancakes with maple syrup (an aroma probably enhanced by the syrupy stack on the label). This has an exceptionally sweet nose.

T: Holy god, that’s sweet. I thought my buddy was exaggerating when he said “liquid wedding cake,” but this is straight syrup. I usually don’t like really sweet beers, but this is different. This is sweet in an old ale kind of way; without the bitters of a DIPA or the roasts of an imperial stout, it’s all sweets. It hits with a vanilla cream, maple syrup, and rich cake frosting. The sugars just don’t stop: bitter dark chocolate, woody bourbon, molasses, and sweet marshmallow cream. Finishes with spicy booze, maple-frosted doughnuts, and cinnamon coffee-cake sweetness.

M: Syrupy, powerful, and absolutely smooth. Ever seen Super Troopers? Drinking this beer makes me want to say “I AM ALL THAT IS MAN” after finishing a glass. Maple. Freaking. Syrup. A little bit of bubble on the back end, but it’s more viscous than anything.

O: I can hardly even finish a glass –I’m not sure that I like that. Why, why is this beer in a 750 mL bottle? I’d be surprised if one person could finish a 12 oz. bottle. Oh well, time to recap it and throw it back in the fridge. If you like sweet beers, you will be blown away by this one; I don’t even like them and it still rocked my world. Yes, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is liquid wedding cake, but it’s also memorable, complex, and unique – three unmistakable qualities that, over the past 200 beers or so, have triggered my love affair with all things Founders.

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

The nose is a combination of sweet maple syrup, minor notes of bourbon and sugar; I think it smells like a plate of French toast avec bourbon. Extremely pleasant on the mouth; a little towards the heavy side, but not too heavy. The alcohol is completely masked, though it provides a warming sensation in the stomach. Now for the taste: if you have had Old Curmudgeon in the past, and are familiar with its strong oak presence, have no fear; the sweetness from the maple syrup, and the bourbon (along with the vanillaness that the bourbon brings) really balances out that "woody" flavor into a pleasant surprise. Is it worth seeking out? Yes. I think this beer deserves the same amount of hype that its predecessor received.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 943 ratings.