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

938 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 938
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 405
Gots: 375 | 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:
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 938 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
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
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
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
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
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
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
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
3.65/5  rDev -15.3%
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
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of eawolff99
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of whartontallboy
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

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.

Photo of russwbeck
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap in Churchkey in DC

A: Beautiful color. Deep amber, surprisingly clear without much head and minimal lacing. The color is really the best part of this beer, spectacular.

S: The aroma is a bit muted honestly. Sweet molasses, hints of oak and bourbon, but overall not a lot going on.

T: The taste is really nice, but a little lacking for what I expected from this beer. Molasses and maple syrup really create a huge sweetness that overpowers anything else. The oak and bourbon show up on the backend, but are certainly an afterthought. Sweet and boozy.

MF: Medium to light body with only a small amount of carbonation. The sweetness detracts from the drinkability.

O: This was good, but my least favorite of this series from Founders (Blushing Monks and CBS were both better). For $12/10oz I would honestly pass on this next time. I wouldn't hesitate, however, to pick up a bottle.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 938 ratings.