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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

928 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 928
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 404
Gots: 378 | FT: 17
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: 928 | Reviews: 231 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bootsdomino
4/5  rDev -7.2%

bootsdomino, Feb 18, 2012
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.

gford217, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of jnikkel
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

jnikkel, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of redfacedshooter
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

redfacedshooter, Feb 18, 2012
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!

JayS2629, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of raymo55
4/5  rDev -7.2%

raymo55, Feb 18, 2012
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

TheBeerAlmanac, Feb 17, 2012
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.

siege06nd, Feb 17, 2012
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.

BarryMFBurton, Feb 17, 2012
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.

xenjoiii, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of Scout11
5/5  rDev +16%

Scout11, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of eawolff99
4/5  rDev -7.2%

eawolff99, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of whartontallboy
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

whartontallboy, Feb 17, 2012
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.

BeerFMAndy, Feb 17, 2012
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.

russwbeck, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of dorianmarley
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is chestnut brown, with off-white head and nice lacing. There are visible carbonation bubbles similar to a soda.

Nose is a bunch of bourbon, burnt sugar, oak, vanilla, with a slight menthol.

Taste is initially alcohol, which blends into bourbon, buttery oak, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and a bready aftertaste. I didn't get much of the maple syrup flavor, except for perhaps a faint, buttery sweetness.

Mouthfeel is a contrast of smoothness and medium carbonation.

Overall, I would like to be able to give it higher than a 4 for the $18 plus tax purchase price, and I suppose I could if I was more struck by the flavor. The flavors are bold. The alcohol is high. It is a beer that forces you to savor it. It is a memorable beer for sure; finely executed.

dorianmarley, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of parris
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma - Burbon, vanilla, almost birthday cakey. Molasses.

Appearance - Brown, creamy head, low carbonation, flecks of sediment

Taste - Creamy, and vanilla, as expected from the aroma. The maple definitely comes through, as advertised. Slight lingering bitterness, but barrel bitterness, not hoppy bitterness. Bourbon.

Mouthfeel - Very full, round, I don't want to say creamy again, but it is. Soft, velvety.

Overall - Delicious overall. This is a special occasion beer, it really deserves some focus and attention while drinking it. The label seems to imply that this beer would go good with pancakes, which is probably true, but I would pair it more with a porterhouse steak.

I couldn't decide between "perfect" and "4.5" for overall, at the right time this is a perfect beer.

parris, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of PhilCheSteak
1/5  rDev -76.8%

PhilCheSteak, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of seanpackage
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

seanpackage, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of genuinedisciple
4.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Dark Amber, just beautiful.

S- Lots going on here, but I can't help but think that the alcohol smell overpowers it a bit, so you have to work through it to discover the variety of smells present (oak, syrup, vanilla, etc).

T- Amazing, one of the best beers I've ever had, and possibly the best old ale I've had. Interestingly enough, I feel like the alcohol is more pronounced in the smell than in the taste...I'll take it.

M- So full and thick. Typically, I find many old ales to be watery, but not this one.

Overall - You have to find it, get it, and enjoy it. If you don't enjoy "big" beers with amazing flavors, stay away. If you like them, well, find it immediately.

genuinedisciple, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of ConorThomas
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 750mL bottle of this at Lexington Beerworks in Lexington, KY. Poured into a snifter.

A- Dark amber with only slight hazing. Creamy head stays short.

S- In my opinion, the smell is the best part of this beer. Big molasses and maple, as well as sweet vanilla, sugar, and maybe slight caramel. Alcohol is slightly present as well.

T- Mostly sweet maple and molasses. There are a full array of flavors to compliment, most of which mirror those in the smell, making it quite full.

M- Full mouthfeel as well. Warming alcohol with maybe only a slight harsh tint.

O- Very delicious and worth a try, but it may be worth sharing with a few since it's a little pricey.

ConorThomas, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev -7.2%

sideshowe, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of ortie
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

ortie, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of cgrz
5/5  rDev +16%

cgrz, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of alalvarez75
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

alalvarez75, Feb 16, 2012
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 928 ratings.