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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.

231 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 231
Hads: 961
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 425
Gots: 365 | FT: 14
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: 961
Photo of Dope
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Rinkor16
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.52/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Excited for this one no doubt!

A-Pours a crimson brownish color. Minimal head dies down. Off-white head. Leaves hundreds of lacing spots. Barely hazed.

S-Whoa! Smells awesome. Very powerful. A mix of maple syrup, oaky bourbon, sweet sugars. Alcohol is noticeable but adds depth. Lots of vanilla extract as well. Very aromatically sweet. I am a big fan of the nose. Excited to try.

T-The aging in maple syrup Bourbon barrels has done wonders. The maple syrup is delicious and the underlying Bourbon flavor is a perfect compliment to the intense overall sweetness of this brew. Heaps of molasses, and brown sugar. Vanilla extract and wood that just lingers forever. Great depth. Like a pancake dipped in bourbon then topped off with maple syrup.

M-Full bodied and syrupy like SYRUP of course. Carbonation is very mellow. Slick sugary feel. Alcohol dries me out a bit but that is expected with the ABV. Big fan of the huge body.

O/D-I loved this beer. Big, syrupy, sweet and deep. Oh so rich in flavor. I didn't get a chance to try CBS but this one makes me feel pretty lucky to be able to try. At $17 a 750 ml, it is pricey but anytime Founders does a beer like this you would be foolish not to try. Great beer!

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Photo of ryantho00
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter.

This brew's carbonation is just wonderful, you get a nice ecru off white foam that laces the glass throughout. This has a nice auburn brownish hue that is consistent throughout.

I get sweet malts and caramel in the first whiff and then some slight bourbon with coffee tones.

Boy oh boy, this beer is just AWESOME! I get a nice sweetness from the malts and chocolate and caramel, coffee, espresso, and frosting. It has a medium body,and is sweet throughout, but most defiantly drinkable and the alcohol is well masked as ALWAYS founders are masters at balancing beers PERFECTLY. IF YOU CAN FIND THIS BUY ONE!

Very nice sweet, malty brew done by the masters at Founders.


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Photo of dbossman
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Tawny caramel hue with a thin film of a head and okay lacing considering the style

S: A lot of anise and bourbon and oak and maple syrup; this is boozy and malty and sweet and I cannot wait

T: This is brilliant: dark fruits, maple, anise, oak, bourbon, damn this is so so good

F: Creamy, medium body--such a good mouth feel

O: This is so damn good: bourbon in the finish and a ton of maple and just a bit of anise which strangely brings it together; God, I really love this

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half

LOOK: Medium brown color, good clarity, light tan foam.

SMELL: Amazing notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malt, toffee and caramel upfront. The notes resonate in the glass.

TASTE: Malty and oaky, with a touch of maple but mostly just sweetness, smooth bourbon notes, vanilla and caramel. Really tasty stuff; rich and complex.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, low-medium carbonation.

OVERALL: A really great beer. Drink it first or last as it tends to overshadow others. The expressive barrel notes and most excellent base beer of Curmudgeon taste like they were always meant to be together.

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Photo of mnphish
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in MPLS at Pracna on Main on 4/25/13. Reviewed from fresh memory and a few notes.

It pours a very appealing caramel orange with little to no head, relatively hazy, just a very bright and warming hue.

It smells of tamed down bourbon and maple, followed by oak, vanilla, brown sugar, booze, and sweet dry fruit. Very inviting.

The taste follows nicely with a huge malt body, and sweet sugar fruits. The maple and bourbon aren't perhaps as big and dominating as i'd like, although it allows for more base beer flavor. Very impressive.

Medium body, light carbonation, massive oak, and light warming. Although the consensus is that this beer is on the downslope, I think it's drinking fantastic now and I bet it still tastes amazing in a few years.

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Photo of vgarneth
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this epic brew by Founders with my BA buddy, y2korey, smoking on a nice Rocky Patel Java Mint cigar as time begins to spring forward here on the East Coast, 2012. Beautiful deep, amber color with an air of maple syrup on the nose. As I take the first sip, my taste buds are overwhelmed with molasses and full on flavor. Excellent body and delightful finish!

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep amber with a fair sized head. Head is about 1.5 fingers and frothy. Great retention and lacing. Particles are present in pour, as well as larger ones in the bottle.

S- Very sweet, and fairly prominent bourbon notes. Heavy malts, including prominent peat malt scents. If my memory serves me correctly, smells almost exactly like Curmudgeon Old Ale.

T- Starts off with a sweet and malty bang. Heavy malts intermingle with the maple sweetness. Oak and bourbon notes come to the forefront and provide a little bit of a bite. Fairly complex. The maple and bourbon flavors provide an interesting mix. Ends with the bite of the bourbon flavor and a little alcohol heat, with maybe a hint of almost smoky flavor.

M- Sticky and smooth. Low carbonation levels. Almost syrupy on the palate. Alcohol makes it closer to a sipper, but not too bad for the heavy flavor profile and high ABV.

Overall, I liked this one a lot. I didn't anticipate this one being as good as it was considering how I like the base beer. The maple syrup barrel aging really gives it another interesting aspect. Makes me want CBS even more.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- A careful pour created a 1/2-finger, off-white head that thins to a light film. The body is clean on the first pour. Amber edges toward a garnet/red with light carbonation. Light, sticky spots are left on the glass. A more aggressive,second pour meant a full finger of foamy head that still dropped pretty quickly. Stick improved with a second pour.

S- Quite sweet at first, lots of maple and wood. Some caramel and brown sugar, a little leather and tobacco leaf. Hints of raisin.

T- Very flavorful. Definitely pick up the maple syrup and bourbon. A little raisin and some spice (cinnamon, pepper, a little anise?). At points it's all about bourbon, nice and smooth. It really changes from sip to sip with warmth.

M- Nice and viscous as expected at the higher ABV for the style. Light carbonation combines with spicy hops and alcohol to provide a little bite.

O- Rich, full flavored old ale is wonderful. I tend to get underwhelmed by the style as I'm always expecting something really bold. This might be bait toward the extreme for the style, but I like it. After 1-1/2 glasses, I paired it with wheat crackers and cheese (Swiss, Havarti, and Gouda). It went together quite nicely. Worth the money. Definitely a special beer, not for every day consumption. Take your time and enjoy it. I'm about to finish off the last small pour now,

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Photo of ConorThomas
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half, or if you want to be the beer geek of all beer geeks, "CBH". Old Ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels. "Maple syrup bourbon barrels?" What is that? Maple syrup bourbon barrels? Which ones? What? 11.9% ALC./VOL. Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI. No gobbledygook whatsoever, only legal crap, so let's jump on in…

Dark crimson hue, small head, turns to a tight ring.

Aroma is utter decadence. Hedonism in a bottle. Maple and bourbon blended with old ale? How much richness can you take? Bam! Hit after hit of sweetness, least of which is the rich malt backbone. Whiskey, vanilla, cherries, maple and more.

Taste: All of that and so much more. Intensely delicious. Caramel, toffee and chocolate tones dance with the dark fruit and the effects of the barrel. Despite the incredible hugeness of this affair, it's even slightly a chore to drink. He says, perhaps too early. I'm not even halfway through this bottle, and damn, but I will finish it.

And damn, it is impressive. All the parts hang together in all the right ways, and the sweetness sticks out, bolstered by the booze, but it holds it's own appropriately. Mmmm, mmm, I have to say, mostly because I haven't said it yet, and sometimes it needs to be said. Mmm, says me, mmmm.

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Photo of JohnQVD
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours copper with suspended solids and a razor thin head. Smells of bourbon, brown sugar and maple. Taste is bourbon heavy and sweet with mild bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium with light carbonation. Aftertaste is lingering bourbony bitterness.

This is a fantastic beer. The original is very good, and the bourbon aging just puts it over the top.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
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!

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Photo of Stevezie
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. Strong bourbon flavor, but complex with malty, maple notes. I perhaps could have waited a few months for it to settle and develop, but just cannot when I get my hands on a backstage series. Way more complex and delicious than it's companion, which is saying alot. Thanks Founders!

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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Photo of travMI13
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 750 mL bottle served into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a hazy orangeish, reddish, brown tone with a small off-white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a decent amount of lacing.

S: The nose reminds me a lot of fresh raisin bread. I'm getting bread and raisins with hints if cinnamon, maple, and booze.

T: Strong maple flavor up front. Very sweet. Getting some of the breadiness from the nose along with a lot of spices. The booze is incredibly well-hidden. This is a challenge to describe accurately. My best analogy is coffee cake soaked in BLiS maple syrup, and I think that's exactly what it is supposed to be. Sublime.

M: The sweetness and stickiness linger for quite a while. The mouthfeel is very syrupy, even though it's not very thick for an olde ale. I almost wish it was a bit heavier, but that's a very minor complaint.

O: This beer is absolutely outstanding. I'm enjoying it immensely. The sweetness and the spiciness might not be for everyone, but this is right up my ally. Just another well-executed barrel-aged beer from Founders. The Founders barrel-aging program just might be the best in the business, and this one is just another feather in their cap.

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Photo of hardy008
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber to light copper color with a two finger head with good retention and lacing. The aroma has maple syrup, bourbon, caramel, and vanilla. Smells like this will be very sweet.

The taste is very sweet, with caramel, maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and a little toasted malt. This is very nice. There is no bitterness for balance, but I don't think this beer needs it.

Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink. Even though I can taste and smell the bourbon, there is no alcohol burn. This is very well made. I hope Founders makes and bottles this again.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is not for drinking by the pint. Good lord. Nose, Taste, and Feel: Molasses is clear, maple syrup, diacetyl, crazy dark fruits in the nose, creamy, rum-cake, alcohol, butter . . . bourbon, vanilla, chewy. This is crazy, crazy good. I would prefer a 5 ounce pour, though, especially at 12% . . . but if i gotta drink the whole bomber, I gotta drink the whole bomber.

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Photo of maximum12
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Harder to track down than Bigfoot (the real one, not the beer), but for molasses? And maple liquor barrels? I'll track. 750 ML bomber split with my wife after our fantasty baseball draft. Hillbilly Hogs for the win. And no Mauer this year.

Pour is dark red flirting with orange highlights, peppered with a 1/4 cup of suspended sediment all through the beer column. Bald man's ring on top. Smell is just heavenly. Molasses, sweet malts, deep maple. Warm alcohol. Yes.

Curmudgeon's Better Half is what one has come to expect from Founders: excellence in barreling. The maple is exquisite, coming through as a sweentess riding the malts & as a gentle alcohol burn in the back of the throat (barrel, I'm guessing). Huge caramel/toffee wades into the fray. Vanilla, brown sugar increase the cavity index significantly. Alcohol is present & warming. Wildly smooth, & stupidly easy to drink.

We should have paired this up with an original Curmudgeon's to compare-&-contrast, but hey, such is life. This is top-shelf stuff, & the reason that I'll buy anything Founders puts in a barrel. Because it almost always comes out excellent, like this beer. Borderline elite.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle. Out of my CBS snifter.

A- A bright reddish amber, on the darker side. Very clean and clear. A healthy off white head forms and reduces to a thin layer that retains. Light lacing.

S- Tons of sweet malt, caramel, and molassas. I get some touches of heat, as well as oaky maple bourbon. Pretty amazing.

T- Just buttery smooth, which is quickly followed by a hoppy punch. The caramel, bourbon, and oak then really go to work. Amazing complex, and just kind of dances across the tongue. Sweet, but not too sweet. I do get some touches of maple candy as well.

M- Amazing. Light on carbonation, but I feel it works perfect for this beer. The body and mouthfeel just have the perfect thickness.

O- Though very reminicent of Backwoods Bastard, this beer is a little different. I think the balance of body, barrel aging, and complexity, is quite amazing. Quite curious to see what this turns into with some age, as if it smooths out it will be euphoric.


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Photo of RollingFiveSixes
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You don't even need to review this beer to know it's going to be astounding. Founder's lives up to it's name with this ale.

***Recommend serving at room tempature.

~Appearance is a beautiful dark violet red below a creamy tan head that sits for a while.

~Aroma consists of soft bourbon, vanilla cream, molasses syrup and slight alcohol.

~Tastes likie it smells but with greater force. Heavy maple syrup mouthfeel leads to vanilla-bourbon cream, mild carbination and a sweet oak finish.

~Overall, god damn it's a good beer, but not for the yuppies.

Wonder how it will tastes with a few years behind it???

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