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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: 958
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 427
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: 958
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 Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Big Hunt on President's Day. Served in a something or other; I shamefully didn't write that part down. Glassware fail. Let's pretend it was in my Founders tulip.

Pours a fairly-dark caramel-copper color with a bit of an off-white head and some spotty lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward some really nice maple notes along with some toffee and caramel. The background has a bit of bourbon, oak, and vanilla with some butterscotch thrown in for good measure. For whatever reason, I also got notes of caramelized banana. Either way, it was awesome, so let's roll with that.

The flavor certainly didn't fall off. Great maple and barrel notes with sweet caramel and a touch of fruit. Brown sugar there as well. Caramelized banana yet again. I can't get away from that. Medium-full body with a slick texture and nice carbonation. Just a touch of warming booze. Founders strikes again. One of America's beer champions.

EDIT:

Original review of the first batch of Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon:

Pours bright ruby with a nice white dad and lacing. Nose is a bit rich. Caramel and fried banana are the initial scents. Slight sweetness. Taste is quite sweet. Caramel and candied fruits. Slight banana. Mouthfeel is rich and only slightly hot. This will age very nicely.

4.5 / 4.0 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 4.0 (September 4, 2010) (1,335 characters)

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

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Thanks to Teresa's for offering this on tap!

Served in a tulip glass, a slightly hazy mahogany brown color, with a small cap of ivory head that dissipated mostly but left some very nice lacing on the glass. Aroma was pretty boozy, with obvious notes of dark sugars and dark dried fruits, woody and leafy afterthoughts. Tasted delicious...brown sugar, molasses, maple, quite boozy, but not really a distinctive bourbon profile until it was allowed to get a bit warmer; raisins, figs, worty malts, with touches of vanilla and licorice. Very complex and tasty, quite smooth, and more so at a warmer temp; alcohol is obvious, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness. Full bodied, and very drinkable. I had no problem ordering another. (777 characters)

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

The pour is amber in color with a white head. Lots and lots of vanilla and maple aromas to this. Caramel and toffee malt sweetness are well represented. Minimal wood with a good dose of bourbon to it as well. The flavor is just as wonderful. Lots of bourbon, maple, vanilla, and caramel. Maybe a little bit of brown sugar to go with it all. A little bit of oak flavor and dark fruit. (383 characters)

Photo of davey101
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into a DFH signature glass. Big thanks to boilerbrew for the trade!

A - Clear dark red/orange body. 2 finger off-white head, very fluffy with large bubbles. Great lacing and retention.

S - I could smell the sweetness immediately after opening the beer. Super sweet toffee malts with lighter bourbon notes of vanilla and oak. A fruit aroma is also very present, I can't put my finger on it exactly buts is similar to a caramel apple. Some lingering dark fruits, brown sugar and molasses. I can't really detect any maple.

T - This beer starts off with a toffee malt flavor that you'll find in any good old ale. This is followed by a super sweet yet smooth wave of molasses and maple. Complex notes of leather, oak, vanilla, and butterscotch finish the beer off. Lightly bitter with a huge sweetness present through the entire sip. Super decadent and rich but I don't find it to be cloying at all. Alcohol heat is present as it warms up but never offensive. Mouth feel is medium bodied and a bit syrupy with low carbonation. Matches the flavor profile perfectly.

O - Wow. This beer is phenomenal. Its just a delicious old ale that was barrel aged to perfection. Tons of sweetness with just the right amount of bourbon notes. Very smooth and complex. I really enjoyed this one. (1,291 characters)

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

bottle picked up locally. pretty sure this was billed as Kaiser Curmudgeon at one point in time. i had that on tap at rattle n hum at a founder's event and was blown away...here's hoping this is it.

a - filled my cbs snifter. poured a ruby chestnut that was semi-transparent. nice frothy thick head that left big streaks of lacing on my swirled glass.

s - strong sweet maple syrup. brown sugar to the max. definitely has that same old curmudgeon crossed with backwoods that i picked up in the draft version, but way more maple. sweet potpouri.

t - wonderful sweet caramel brown sugar. the barrel and maple syrup really take the old ale on a wild ride. this is the treatment that was needed for this beer. really well blended. if anything, a bit sweet, but super palatable. dare i say that this might be better than BB4D.

m - extremely smooth and easy to drink for the intense booze and sweetness that you'd expect.

o - overall, this is amazing. founders does it again. this was the sleeper as kaiser curmudgeon and a treat. i had heard black biscuit would be next, but super pumped for this one. glad it fell a bit under the radar for these releases...at least wasn't as crazy as CBS. a winner and a half. fantastic brew. as world class as BB4D...and the only old ale that should be mentioned in the same breathe. (1,318 characters)

Photo of nrbw23
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a reddish color with a bit of sediment and a fairly small tan head. Not a lot of retention of lacing left behind.

S- Smell is really nice and has quite a bit going on here. Quite a bit of vanilla, wood, bourbon, burnt sugar and maple.

T- First thing is the sweetness and a bit of heat from the booze. After this initial shock I really enjoyed this brew. Maple, burnt sugar, wood and vanilla.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and pretty low in carbonation.

O- This beer is very awesome and probably underrated. I really enjoyed this one. (553 characters)

Photo of Efeswasmy1st
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From friend Jeff from Bodega Brew Pub. Let it warm a bit. Poured into goblet. Aroma is banana, bourbon, malt. Appearance is medium amber with little head. Taste is banana, clove, anise, malt. Very tasty. Palate is easy, sweet, and long. Find a bottle, and a few friends and enjoy! (280 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
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. (772 characters)

Photo of SawDog505
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip glass. Pours a dirty brown, with a one inch white head, leaves some lace. Smell is vanilla, maple, fig, and bourbon. Taste is very aggressive, with pungent vanilla and bourbon leading the way. Body is on the larger side, good amount of carbonation, not overly dry, and a sipper yet very drinkable. This was a wonderful experience and Founder's one again you leave me in awe. (406 characters)

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 zep9865
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (603 characters)

Photo of raleigh_blue
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

10 oz pour into improper glass (pint glass). I was just happy to try the Kaiser. Cloudy with some residual sediments in the pour. I was one of the first to order this and also had it mid-way through the sixtel so i suppose after sitting a few years this was typical. Deep amber color.

Smell: Boozy caramel and vanilla. Taking in a full waft of this made my mouth water.

Taste: Boozy caramel, bourbon and vanilla. Super sweet, but I love it. Tastes like a caramel apple without the apple.

Mouthfeel: Thick and coating. Like chocolate milk with caramel/vanilla instead of chocolate.

Overall: If you happen to see it, by all means drink it. Outstanding by every measure. (672 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 woosterbill
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a snifter. Big thanks to the generous soul who shared this.

A: Clear deep orange body with a thin layer of fine tan bubbles. Ok.

S: Sweet, amazing. Maple, bourbon, vanilla, oak, and butterscotch. Plenty of booze, too. More maple as it warms. Decadent.

T: Caramel and butterscotch up front, with maple and oak filling in toward the back end. Long, sweet, boozy finish. Really great.

M: Rich, thick, and moderately carbonated with creamy bubbles. Pretty darn perfect.

O: Way, way better than the base beer. Delicious stuff.

Cheers! (553 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber body. Decent head with decent lacing.

Smell - Apples, bourbon, maple. Big molasses aroma. The aromas complement each other very nicely.

Taste - Even better. Apples subdued. Much stronger maple syrup. Sweet dark sugar flavors. Nice earthy hop bitterness to keep it balanced. Awesome.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, for sure. Easy to drink, surprisingly. Almost too light considering the ABV.

Overall - Quite spectacular flavors. Much better than Old Curmudgeon. Every beer needs to be put in maple syrup bourbon barrels. (617 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (837 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lot of maple in this beer. Take CBS, drop the stout smoothness, add Old Ale heartiness and, surprisingly, ratchet up the maple to make this incredible beer. (159 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 3/15/12 tasting notes... Paired this with some opening round NCAA Tourney action. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into CBS snifter.

A) This is a pleasing looking burnished brandy. It starts with nearly a finger of head that settles to a wispy dusting. There was not much lacing, seemed to have some alcohol legs.

S) Nice blend of aromas. I picked up some vanilla, maple syrup, caramel, Levi Garrett Tobacco. It's fairly sweet, with a nice hint of the bourbon.

T) Definitely lives up to the expectations I had after savoring the aroma. Vanilla bean, sweet maple syrup, some dark fruits,a little brown sugar, a little woody bourbon barrel cask. The alcohol is well hidden. Well balanced flavors, that deliver a great taste.

M) Nearly full bodied and lightly carbonated. This one is silky smooth. Finishes fairly sweet with complementary earthiness. Nice aftertaste.

O Simply put, this is an outstanding ale. If you are lucky enough to try this one, do not hesitate. Thanks to Founders for another fantastic offering. (1,022 characters)

Photo of xenjoiii
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (723 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A beautiful dark ruby pour with a huge, dense off-white head atop it. The retention is so good it takes a good 5 minutes for it to recede an inch. Almost annoying because I want to try it! Leaves a solid wall of lacing. Perfect.

S: Loaded with bourbon. Sweet molasses, brown sugar, caramel and oaky vanilla. Hint of dark fruit like raisin and perhaps figs. Maybe a touch of maple but it could be my imagination.

T: Whoa, there's the maple up front and throughout the beer. A wonderful mix of maple syrup and bourbon notes. Molasses, caramel, brown sugar and oak. Maybe a bit of toffee. Super malty - sweet but not cloying, the bourbon helps cut it down a bit.

M: Not as heavy as you might think for an 11.9% beer. It's definitely got some weight to it but it's not syrupy. Carbonation is dead on. Very smooth.

O: It's VERY heavy on the bourbon and the maple flavors are quite strong too. Sweet as can be but what would you expect from a maple syrup bourbon barrel old ale? The flavors compliment each other nicely and nothing is too overpowering. What a great beer, there's nothing else quite like it out there. (1,119 characters)

Photo of Rinkor16
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Opened 9/1/13 with 2 buddies and my brother while we were brewing.

A: A dark caramel color. Very little head.

S: Tons of aroma! Caramel, oak and lots of bourbon.

T: I expected the taste to be HUGE. I was very pleased to find that it was much more mellow than the aroma led on. Oak, caramel, brown sugar and a nice buttery taste with a hint of bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation.

O: Damn. I'd drink that for breakfast. Very smooth and the alcohol is almost impossible to taste. I would definitely trade for this beer again. (555 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First had this at the night of the barrels liked it…
Wow, this time out of the bottle it’s fantastic.

A sudsy beige head forms and collapses fairly quickly. A decent amount of suds cling to the glass. A nice deep amber/brown color.

Maple, wood, sweetness and a thick malt aroma. If any bourbon, it’s very subtle.

Flavor is wonderful. Lot’s going on. Maple, vanilla, rounded light bourbon, definitely some wood. A lovely sweetness and at the end you can get a bit of molasses… almost a burnt sugar flavor. More vanilla and bourbon in the aftertaste. The lingering flavor in this beer is a definite highlight.

Mouth feel is a potential highlight. So soft, rounded and yet substantial.

I am so glad I was able to score a bottle of this. Just fantastic. (764 characters)

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into Tulip.

A. Pours 1 finger head. You can smell the beer as it is poured from the bottle. Not a lot of lacing, but a solid collar of lace left on the glass. Color is an amber brown. Decent retention with a permanent top layer of head.

S. Wow! Brown sugar, molasses, raisins, maple syrup, vanilla, oak, alcohol, candied fruit. All kinds of aroma in this beer. Very sweet smelling with all of that goodness going on. Its like the smell of a candy store for a beer nerd.

T. Damn! One of the smoothest extremely complex tasting beers I have had. Pretty much all of the aroma translates to the taste. Sweet, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, dates, rum soaked fruit, vanilla, oak. Incredibly delicous. Wouldn't mind drinking this for breakfast with my better half.

M. Full bodied. Medium/low carbonation. Mouth coating, lip smacking sweetness.

O. Very good beer. Kind of beer that makes you happy that you just had a beer so good, and sad that you don't have any more. I think Founders could age a barrel of urine in those maple syrup bourbon barrels, and it would taste good. (1,116 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (913 characters)

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