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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

231 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 231
Hads: 957
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 3.94%
Wants: 428
Gots: 370 | FT: 13
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 231 | Hads: 957
Photo of Pencible
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like maple and molasses and tons of oak and toasted coconut, with some vanilla and earthy roasted barley and copper hops and honey.
T: It tasted like maple and vanilla and toasted coconut and oak, with some molasses and copper hops and roasted barley and honey. It had a clean and sweet and smooth aftertaste.
M: It was very thick and viscous with some carbonation. Nice full and slick body.
D: This was a delicious old ale with great maple bourbon barrel character. I loved the scent and taste, and the body was excellent. It had a lasting but mellow finish, so it was easy to drink but worth sipping. It would likely age a long tome, but it doesn't need it since it's great fresh. Recommended, if you could find it. (797 characters)

Photo of sleuthdog
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Founders Bolt Cutter glass

Pour: Rusty brown with a shit ton of floaties and no head to speak of.

Smell: I get a sweet peat and spice smell with some oak and the sweetness of the maple syrup. Is that coriander?

Taste: Maple sweetness with some vanilla and surprisingly some hops in here. The barrel character is evident but the sweetness is dominating.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a very sticky consistency. No carbonation.

Overall: Did not enjoy this as much as I was hoping to. Decent but maybe sat on this too long? (538 characters)

Photo of tut2528
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

thanks to sleuthdog for opening this one during the tasting!

A: FLOATIES!!! pours a rust color bodied, with slight off-white 1/2 fingers worth of head fromation. no lacing what so ever.

S: peat, big maple sweetness, brown sugar, very subtle bourbon, dog food (seriously, there is a hint of dry dog food). no alcohol whatsoever

T: maple sweetness forward. vanilla finish, a slight hop note, a slight touch of bourbon in there as well. not as much complexity as i thought there would be.

M: lighty bodied, but it leaves a nice coating of sugary sweetness on the teeth and palate.

O: nice solid Old Ale, but nothing to get all crazy about IMO. its a sweet maple beer all the way around, but it lacks complexity to help balance this beer out and truly making it a phenomenal brew. (783 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2012-03-10 in Columbia, PA (from tasting notes)

A - Dark orange, partly cloud. A few floaties. Short tan head.

S - Oak, bourbon, peat, spice. I don't smell the maple

T - Molasses, bourbon, medium roasted malt, maple, vanilla, sharp hop tang, some pepper, candied orange, fairly sweet. Notice the alcohol. Really tasty.

M - Medium-heavy, light carbonation. Smooth. Syrupy.

O - Very enjoyable but I like CBS better. This is more like a wee-heavy. (462 characters)

Photo of sjones5045
4.88/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So this is the third, and final bottle of my Better Half stash. I've had a bottle at release, a few months later and now over a year later. The pour is dark brown and in the case of the older beer, hazy with some sediment. The smell is sweet and malty. Curmudgeon with syrup pretty much. The taste is insane. Malty and sweet like the smell. The thing I don't like is that it ruin the regular curmudgeon for me a little. Overall, top notch world class beer that I'm sad that I may not ever have again. (500 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.88/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a brandy snifter... amber gold body with good clarity except for all the little fuckers floating around in there... full finger of tan head that appears awfully boozy, large gauge carbonation, oily drapes of lace... beading with every movement of the glass.

Leafy tobacco notes, stale breakfast syrup, the heat of the alcohol is still apparent on the tail end of a good snort. Not crazy about this one judging by the nose alone.

Lots of oaky vanilla flavors on the palate accented by molasses and a distinctly maple sweetness, that same dry tobacco flavor shows itself here again, caramel and toffee malt characteristics. There's a strange lingering flavor attached to the booze bill that I can't exactly put my finger on. I can imagine how much smoother this would have been with a fresh maple syrup profile. This one has to be my least favorite of the Founders Backstage beers.

I can't see this one improving from here. Still very glad to have had the chance to try it out though. Drink 'em if you got 'em. I'll be pretty liberal with my rating since I think I should've had this one fresh. (1,107 characters)

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

Curmdugeon’s Better Half is copper in color. It’s very clear. When held to light, it takes on more of a red appearance. It’s a really sharp looking color. An off-white head caps it off. It’s rather modest, rising to just above a finger in height. Retention was short. Perhaps the abv’s a bit too much for it to survive. Lacing was a bit sticky and moderate in volume. Good stuff.

The nose is very impressive. The base smells like a mix of caramel and toasted malts. It definitely smells sweet and sugary. Part of that is attributable to the barrel-aging in maple syrup bourbon barrels. Sweet syrup scents are definitely noted. Bourbon is there, but is more subtle. It’s a nice complement to the other scents though. Secondary scents include vanilla, oak, light dark fruit, and alcohol. Alcohol is blended well for nearly 12%. It doesn’t smell nearly that strong. Smells great! Very deep, complex, and intriguing.

The flavor is very good, but it is just a tad too sweet. The malt base is a strong mix of caramel and toasted malts. The caramel variety is stronger. It is VERY sweet. The mix of caramel, syrup, and sugary flavors are a huge part of the flavor profile. Having said that, the maple flavor is tasty and works well. Bourbon is there, but isn’t really the highlight. It takes a backseat to the other flavors and plays its complementary role very well. A mix of vanilla, oak, praline, light plum, and alcohol round it out. The alcohol is blended extremely well. Finishes with a mix of sugar, caramel, sugar, syrup, and sugar.

The body is medium and it is extremely smooth. Carbonation is dialed back nicely and the bubbles feel very soft. This is easy drinking for such a big beer. Scary drinkability. Proceed with caution.

There’s no doubt – Curmudgeon’s Better Half is extremely good beer. If you have a big sweet tooth, you’ll love it. This one’s just a little sweet for me, and that holds it back a little. Very, very impressive stuff though. Definitely worth seeking out. (2,015 characters)

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$18 for the 750nL, served slightly chilled in a tulip
Sampled 05NOV12

[A] From a slowly glugging pour, less than a finger of light tan head rises. Retention is average but a creamy film and foamy collar remain until the end if the glass. The tiny bubbles move slowly through the noticeably thick medium amber colored body. Straggles of lacing cling to the glass in unpredictable fashion.

[S] At this age, just above a hint of maple syrup sweetness remains on the nose. The bourbon barrel character is simply amazing. The subtlety is refined, blending perfectly with the more complex notes of of oak, brown sugar, caramel, butter, a drop of vanilla & the right amount of alcohol.

[T] I assume that the molasses fermented out completely because it is undetectable to my senses - and I'm usually adverse to it. I do, however, pick up on some modestly dark sugar flavors on the back end of the palate at warmer temperatures, but they are much closer to buttery caramel than molasses.

[M] Overall sweetness is balanced by a tannic oakiness at midpalate and a shot of dryness right before the residual sweetness resumes. A pleasant alcoholic warmth begins in the belly and slowly rises to the tongue. "Heat" is not a practical consideration. Effervescence is appropriately low, creating a rich, thick, tongue lathering texture. Soft and plush. Just glorious.

[O] A fresher bottle put out stronger maple aroma and flavor, but the mouthfeel at 9 months (or so) now has little to no room for improvement. And since the maple *is* still lingering, it's a trade-off I'll take any day of the week. What else can I say? This is my kind of beer. (1,636 characters)

Photo of ChiPool
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Founder's snifter. Can't find a bottle date, but purchased back in February: consumed & reviewed 12/23/12.

I'm so accustomed to BA stouts, I forgot this was an old ale. I realized this upon the pour, as it is a medium amber color, with moderate carbonation & about a quarter-inch of cream colored head. It's cloudy: plenty of floaties present. The nose gives you no doubt about the bourbon presence: boozy, a touch of honey there as well. the booze is well blended on the palate, though: very little booziness there for a big boy like this. As this opens up, the molasses make itself more prominent. The bourbon & molasses pair well: not much there in bitterness at all. The mouthfeel is superb: just right. It gains a bit of density as it warms, but nicely balanced overall.

Nice change of pace for a BA option (old ale as opposed to a stout). My only complaint is that it is a touch heavy on the molasses. Make sure to have a friend when you open this...or hunker down! (993 characters)

Photo of andrewjraab
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes from 12-14

A. Pours a golden amber brown. Good clarity. Big off white head that quickly shrinks. Not much stick or retention to speak of.

S. sweet and malty, big blast of sweet bourbon and maple syrupy goodness. Smell makes me hope to one day enjoy one of these before during and after a pancake breakfast.

T. Sweet molasses, malts, bourbon, and oaky.

O. This is amazingly smooth for the alcohol content and walks such a delicate yet unique flavor trail. Was this a one time deal for the back stage releases? I hope not. (545 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Barcade, founders tap night

A - Low white head, poor retention and lace. Hazy ice tea body.

S - Maple syrup, brown sugar, scotch, vanilla, black cherry.

T - Caramel, coffee creamer, cherry concentrate, scotch, vanilla, vanilla wafers, lemon frosting.

M - About as smooth as you could ever ask for. Full, creamy body; but not syrupy.

O - Drinks like Scotch with an incredibly smooth, sweet honey finish. (409 characters)

Photo of Optifron
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed 11/18/2012 on-tap during Founders day at Crane Alley in Urbana, IL

Appearance: Mid-red brown. Thin head sticks around. Bit hazy.

Aroma: Big vanilla hit. Wood. Malty sweetness.

Taste: Big upfront sweetness (more than say, Backwoods Bastard), including a small vanilla hit. Some wood and hop bitterness to finish.

Mouthfeel: Very, very velvety. Slight carbonation. Sweet, salivating.

Overall: Fantastic. Leaves some alcohol warmth. Great vanilla flavors. Would be hard to drink a ton of it. (501 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle (2012)

Acquired via trade
Thanks, joshrosborne!

A lighter than expected, but very pretty nearly clear copper and golden with a very persistent, moderately sized light khaki colored head of tightly bubbled foam atop. Leaves fairly thick lines and spots of stick down the glass. Very pretty, especially for the style.

Nice caramel and toffee notes, along with a bit of wood and nut combine nicely with bourbon notes and some lingering maple characters. I wish it all a bit more pronounced, as in the flavor, but this is certainly very nice.

The flavor is fantastic and just as expressive and delicious as I was hoping for. This is like melted caramel and pecan pie with a bourbon whipped cream frosting atop...only in beer form. The alcohol is exceptionally well hidden, turning this monster into an incredibly drinkable, tamed beast. Really impressed.

Medium bodied with low-moderate carbonation. Just a touch oily. Very drinkable.

Exceptional. One of my favorites within the style. Well done, Founders! (1,015 characters)

Photo of Scotchboy
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes.

CBH capped 750ml from Will (much thanks bro!) split with my brother with my portion going into a Hair of the Dog snifter.

A: (3.5) Very dark ruby body with a ton floaties...good amount of off-tan head and lacing that sticks around considering its a 12% beer.

S: (4.5) Copious amounts of brown sugary malt. Maple syrup is still evident, but there is just a ton of caramel and malt in this thing, with suggestions of dark fruit, figs, and molasses as well. Sweet alcohol as well, but not boozy.

T: (4) Taste follows the aroma, brown sugar and molasses, caramel, maple syrup, dark fruitiness, sweet brown malt, undertones of bourbon and vanilla with hints of booze and dark cherries.

MF: (4) Sticky, viscous mouthfeel, fuller bodied with lower carbonation. Making my way through the turbidity is kind of a pain, but the alcohol is pretty well hidden at least.

O: (4.5) A good sipper, seriously 6 ounces of this thing is enough for me. A beer that isn't in my wheelhouse (style-wise) but is still a great offering with lots going on in the aromatics and flavors. (1,083 characters)

Photo of herman77
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber brown with a small off white head. Decent retention. Decent lacing.

S: Malty. Sweet carmel malts dominate with bourbon, maple syrup, molasses and vanilla. Some booziness in the background.

T: Malty bomb. Tons of carmel and molasses up front, then the maple syrup, vanilla and bourbon take over. Nice bourbon taste, not too strong, not too weak. The booziness on the backend helps cut the sweetness. No hops.

M: Medium-heavy body with lower carbonation. Feels pretty smooth and a bit creamy.

O: Decent drinkability. Drinks lower than 12%. Its good, but not great. The maple syrup adds a nice dimension. (619 characters)

Photo of argock
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 mL brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. 2012 vintage. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $17.99.

A: Dark copper with short cap of beige/khaki head with short retention but a few scraps of lace. Quite a few yeast floaties.

S: Huge toffee and burnt caramel smells with some dark fruit and alcohol, bourbon mainly. I don't detect alot of maple aroma but it coul dbe buried in there underneath the prodigious malting.

T: The flavor is a step up from the aroma with burnt caramel, rum raisin, toffee, milk chocolate, and brown sugar. The alcohol is well-hidden in the flavor but there with a little steeliness. There is a fair amount of bitterness to try to offset the sugary sweetness, but the sugar definitely wins. Bourbon character is present but subdued after about 8-9 months of cellar time. The maple is not really coming through, although there is a bit of rough sweetness that might be from the maple syrup component. There is a little bit of nuttiness as well, maybe from the suspended yest particles. Not a subtle beer, but very enjoyable and a great sipper.

M: Silky smooth with a bit of tackiness at the back of the palate from the alcohol and super sweet sugars. Carbonation was appropriately low. Body was full and then some.

O: I have not tried the standard Curmudgeon for awhile, but I will have to revisit for a little comparison-action. Better Half is definitely all it is cracked up to be -- a powerful beer which hits your palate like a microburst of flavor -- it blows through and leaves your taster behind in shreds. Only this blast of flavor is intensely enjoyable. (1,628 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade with Irishgurl4 many moons ago. Thanks again for the fun trade(s) Christine!

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a two finger, thicker looking, fluffy, creamy-white head with good retention. Clear rust orange wth medium carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a foam cap and leaves some lacing on the top of the glass. A half wisp and ring remain until the end leavind some dots of lacing down the glass. Good looking beer for sure.

SMELL: Maple syrup, bourbon, oak and vanilla on the nose from the barrel aging. Some caramel and toffee sweetness, as well as some molasses and spicy alcohol as well. Nice nose on this one.

TASTE: Caramel and malple syrupy sweetness up front, as well as some bourbon, oak, vanilla and milk chocolate from the barrel aging. Aftertaste is bold and persistent with plenty of maple flavors, minty milk chocolate, sweet molasses and bourbon lingering on the palate. Nice and flavoful, though a touch boozy still.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. Creay creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes relatively dry on the palate. Very creamy smooth here.

OVERALL: This was a solid, solid beer. I think I preferred the stout aged in these barrels, but the old ale held its own as well. Some nice barrel flavors with hints of the base beer coming through here and there as well. An enjoyable beer I'd gladly drink again. Thanks again for the brews Irishgurl4. Much appreciated. (1,472 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Lost Abbey Teku. The pour is reddish-amber and slightly hazy with a finger of off-white head that quickly dissipates. On the nose I get some fruity esters, some bourbon, toffee, and some faint vanilla notes. Some dried fruit and alcohol fumes as well.

Very full body and velvety, creamy, chewy mouthfeel. The sweet, toasty, caramel-like sweetness hits you like a big malty club. Loads of sweetness. On the front of the palate is sweet malt, caramel, toffee, and candied sugar laced with vanilla, cream, and oaky, bourbony goodness. I think I'm getting a very faint trace of maple syrup too. There is a mild balancing hoppy bitterness at mid-palate and a nice, warming hit of booziness on the finish.

The last time I tried it, I thought that the standard Curmudgeon was a bit too sweet and boozy. However, I may need to revisit it because I thought this version of it was simply outstanding. The bourbon-barrel aging suits this style perfectly, just like it does big barleywines. It goes perfectly with the cold, damp weather outside. (1,063 characters)

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 750ml brown pop top, awesome label, into my Black Sheep half-pint goblet. Pop the top, with just the whisper of carbonation escaping.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark orange amber, nice clarity, and a strong pour produces a large light tan/dark ivory cap with good retention.

Smell: Really pleasant toasty malt and sweet caramel aromas lead up front, with a light note of fruity alcohol and a faint woodiness. Something sort of nutty that reminds me a bit of nougat. Not a shocking level of depth, but rich and inviting. So far, so good.

Taste: Don’t really get much in the way of maple or oak, but I was willing to risk that to let the alcohol calm down just a bit. I do think I get JUST a hint of maple on the finish, along with what might be just a ghost of tannic oak, but would I have picked out the maple w/out knowing it was there? Probably not. Sweet, toasty malt, sweet caramel, a combination of alcohol (big, but not hot) and firm hop bitterness (if not flavor or aroma) keep this from being cloying. A bit of fruity alcohol. That (pleasant) lightly-nutty, nougat note from the aromas is present here as well. Alcohol is definitely present, but feels just about right to balance out the other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Low-level, small, bubbled, steady carbonation and a rich, thick mouthfeel.

Conclusion: I definitely enjoyed this beer. The aromas scream ‘cold weather drinking’, the flavors are nicely balanced, especially for such a big beer, and it’s a nice example of a fairly traditional (at least in terms of flavor profile) take on the English Old Ale. If it was regularly available and cheaper, I’d probably pick one up every year or so. However, at the price point, and how hard you had to work to snag a bottle, it didn’t quite live up to expectations/the hype (but, for that matter, neither did CBS). Bottom line, I might be tempted to give this a 90 or so, if the price point were a bit lower. As is, I think it’s fair to score this around an 87 or 88. (2,009 characters)

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep amber/crimson hue with about a finger of off-white head that slowly settles to a ring around the edges. Sticky lace runs down the glass with ease.

S: A big burst of maple and bourbon up front, with sweet dried fruit, caramel, and some light floral hop undertones.

T: Cereal up front, with notes of caramel, honey, and dried stone fruits. Mid-palate is is massive maple and bourbon flavors, with a very slight smokiness lingering in the background. Finish is sweet and very long-lasting.

Notes: This beer is a monster of flavor! Full-bodied, viscous, and yet very smooth. One would not assume it was 11.9% ABV upon taking their first sip. For it's strength and complexity, it is highly drinkable to almost dangerous levels. This beer has got it all! When it comes to barrel-aging, Founders proves once again that they do it like no other. Wonderful stuff! (914 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy red-orange with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is sweet caramelized malts with vanilla, oak, Bourbon, maple syrup, some dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with sweet caramelized malts, vanilla, brown sugar, black licorice, and dark fruits. Through the middle, lots of oak, Bourbon, and maple syrup come through with some molasses. The finish is a mix of sweet caramelized malts, oak, vanilla, maple syrup, Bourbon, molasses, and a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. The maple Bourbon barrels really add some great complexity to the beer while keeping the balance spot on. (800 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
3.57/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of lurchingbeast. Thanks, Frank! From notes.

I thought this was an appropriate review to upload for #1300. To many more milestones of being a curmudgeon!

A: Pours a clear chestnut body with light tan head. Large bubbles recede into milky swirls on top of the beer.

S: Smells of toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla, bourbon, with a nutty maple accent. Sweet for sure.

T: CBH is big on vanilla in the taste; it reminds me of the first batch of Abacus in its potency. The flavor drops off a bit after; or rather, it becomes more balanced, but it becomes harder to pick out the nuances after the big vanilla punch. Caramel, honey, bourbon, with a touch of maple. The finish has the astringency of nut skin (I wish there were a better way to phrase this) and oak.

M: While the body is hefty, it drinks much lighter due to the crisp carbonation. In the finish, the flavor falls off in a lackluster fashion; kind of disappointing since the taste is a little simple to begin with (or rather, I perceive it that way as the vanilla overrides much of the nuance).

O: Not bad... But I can see why this one was a lot easier to get (reportedly) than Canadian Breakfast Stout. It's not Founders' best. (1,231 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the sidecar

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange with a light crop of white head on top. Retains for a bit with some spotty lacing and film while drinking.

Potent maple syrup laced with bourbon in the nose. Syrupy sweet with layers of malt and toasted oak. Brown sugar and caramel with some dark fruit as well. Very rich and inviting.

Boozy warmth right up front with strong bourbon tempered by the silky sweetness of maple syrup. Burnt brown sugar and caramel add to the sweetness, followed by an assortment of dark fruits including raisins and dates. Roasted malts with more boozy warmth towards the finish which is sticky and hot with lingering effects of maple.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, syrupy, sticky, and smooth on the tongue. A deliciously rich barrel aged beer - the sweetness can be slightly overbearing at points but I still really enjoyed every drop. (886 characters)

Photo of cfrances33
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to thebeerisgood. Poured into a Founders snifter.

Pour: Hazy amber with a finger and a half of off white, soapy head. Head diminishes to a pretty nice rim, and leaves some nice sticky lacing. I'm sure that syrup residue in the barre had little to do this with, but its to see that this beer look like maple syrup. Body has some nice legs, and is more viscous than I would expect. There are a TON of floaties, which is what makes this a straight ugly beer, especially on the second pour.

Smell: Big bourbon up front, mingled with some vanilla. Burnt caramel and a little bit of cinnamon dance around behind that, especially as it warms. Chewy raisins. Some maple syrup lightly kisses the back half, and the nose reminds me more of french toast than pancakes as many have described.

Taste: Bourbon and maple stickiness. Raisins and figs provide a very noticeable chewiness. Huge caramel sweetness with a light vanilla close out, mixed with more maple goodness. Definitely better as it warmed. As I finish this glass, it truly tastes like pancakes. Well done Founders.

Mouthfeel: Very little booze bite, and really nice carbonation. Very sticky, but in a nice way - compliments the maple flavors. A definite sipper, you can't help but take your time with this one.

Overall: A really nice beer, and I am very excited for more maple bourbon goodness (at least to some extent) with Bolt Cutter.

And now time for a serious EDIT...
The second half of this bottle is really quite good. All the maple flavor is there. WITH THAT SAID, the first glass of this was NOT good. No maple flavor at all, and a LOT of alcohol astringency. I honestly think this is a case where sediment played a huge role in making the flavors that make this beer great come out. I highly recommend that you disturb the sediment before pouring a glass of this beer at its present age. (1,868 characters)

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks not so good. Murky brown, like a panoply of dead fall leaves. Bad head retention, and loopy at best carbonation. So all in all it looks the way an old ale should, but ugly. Smells very nice. Like a hot stack of pancakes. Maple, bourbon, toffee, caramel chews and some spices? american oak. To be honest it really smells like KBS without coffee. It smells sweet, warm and inviting on a fall evening. Really full taste with many flavors following from the indication of the aroma. The predominante flavors are from the oak backed up by huge malt. Bottle is from the release, duh, so the booze has calmed a little. however still a little hot. Oily and lacking enough carbonation to cut the body and booze. This is a great old ale, a style I really love. Many love impy stouts, but I find this style more interesting and more difficult to pull off with grace. In the end Founders does a bang up job, but falls short of the best. (930 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 231 ratings.