Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

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BA SCORE
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world-class

231 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 231
Hads: 957
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 429
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
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Reviews: 231 | Hads: 957
Photo of vgarneth
4.58/5  rDev +6%
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! (365 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.58/5  rDev +6%
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. (1,121 characters)

Photo of GRPunk
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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, (1,378 characters)

Photo of ConorThomas
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (672 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
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. (1,308 characters)

Photo of JohnQVD
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (346 characters)

Photo of JayS2629
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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! (668 characters)

Photo of Stevezie
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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! (291 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 travMI13
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (1,199 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (600 characters)

Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (370 characters)

Photo of maximum12
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
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. (1,164 characters)

Photo of Gfunk720
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

-GFunk (970 characters)

Photo of RollingFiveSixes
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
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??? (610 characters)

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz courtesy od Cuzco pours a clearish crimson color with a large and frothy tan head. Awesome retention and lacing.

Holy shit this smells amazing! Toasted coconut, bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt and molasses. Absolutely one of the best smelling beers I have ever laid nose upon.

Man, this beer is tasty. Lots of syrupy sweetness and toffee with a gentle nudge of leafy hops. The sweetness is big but the toasty coconut is so wonderful that cloying never even enters the picture. Nice alcohol complexity, very earthy. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect as it is creamy, woody and soft. Love it! One of the best beers I have had in a loooong time. (647 characters)

Photo of Hoppedup616
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to land this bottle, poured into a Great Lakes snifter.
Poured almost syrupy, this one really stuck to the glass. Molasses in color, and had a minimal off white head that left pretty quickly. Smell was extremely sweet, totally amazing. Carmel, bourbon, wood, slight maple, but more than CBS in more opinion. Whoa...this tastes incredible. Maple is more prominent in the taste, which I was fond of. Still very sweet, and had a very nice bourbon character. Alcohol was very well hidden, something Founders is really good at doing. The mouthfeel was also thick and syrupy, not that much carbonation, but I loved it. This beer was worth the wait. Haven't tried the original Curmudgeon, but it's next on my list. I look forward to enjoying this beer again. (764 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another wonderful beer from Founders. I'm really digging the large format bottle special releases- all of them have been welcome additions so far. This one is no exception. Pours a dark amber with a solid head for the abv and style. The head sticks around for the duration of the beer. Lovely bourbon aromas to start, with vanilla, a bit of spicy oak, and a nice punch from the residual alcohol. Some Maple develops at the end. The taste is even better, with very well integrated flavors of chocolate, vanilla, maple, oak, Bourbon, and molasses notes. On the sweet side, but it all works very well. Silky in the mouth, and a pleasurable experience all around. A very tasty beer indeed. (685 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, I was able to try one of these and it was worth the wait. Being a fan of old ales, this release hits the sweet spot.

Poured into the glass, the ale has darkly murky brown qualities with a slight off-white head. There is little carbonation in this one. A maple aroma, accompanied by a degree of maltiness, dominated the aroma. The aroma is not one that you have to search for. The initial taste was characterized by the smoothness of the beer. The maple syrup used in this one blends perfectly with the sour Belgiany notes. Dark fruits and perhaps a hint of tobacco can also be detected on the malt backbone. The sweetness is noticeable, but does not overwhelm the beer. The sweetness transitions easily into a warming flavor in the aftertaste. (753 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-golden brown color with a small off-white head which dissipates with some lacing

S-fruit and molasses with hints of bourbon and vanilla

T-a delicious mixture of dried fruits, brown sugar, malts, vanilla, and bourbon

F-medium to full body with light carbonation, smooth and boozy, but well-balanced

O-a delicious complex ale with great flavor and balance, one to savor (373 characters)

Photo of ncketchum
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temp in a chimay goblet

A - pours a dark red-orange with minimal head, lots of sediment

S - smell is bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, and maple syrup with a strong malt backbone

T - Strong bourbon up front, followed by the sweetness of the maple syrup, all with malt underneath.

M - fairly thick, not much carbonation, pretty boozy, the abv definitely makes itself known.

O - another excellent offering from
founders, glad I split this one as doing a whole bomber myself would be a tall order. (514 characters)

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

Man, I am I glad to get a bottle of this. Wish I had a couple more to put back but many thanks to my pal who landed this. You know who you are.
appearance: Clear bronze, regal I have to say. The Curmudgeon must be a Duke or somethin. Not much head to speak of but nice lingering wisps of lacing.
smell: Not as in the face as expected, though a lot goin on. Most prominent is the bourbon, though not dominating at all. Balanced with a sweetness that must be the molasses and/or maple. Man, there's oak and some spice. Fantastic. Now, I'm really wanting another to lay down a bottle or 2. If this nose becomes more pronounced without losing balance it will be transcendent.
taste: This! So full and rich and somehow so gentle. All the nose in a power-packed fist in a velvet glove.
All hail Founders! Please make more. (818 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 jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A whiskey colored body with lots of sediment stirring about. The head is tan and creamy with some nice sticky lacing.

Great nose of vanilla bean, oak, whiskey and caramelized sugars. Some maple syrup also.

Oh wow, the taste is so well blended. So much going on, but it is so mellow at the same time. Like it has been aged. Syrupy sugars, maple, dry oak, vanilla, warm whiskey and so on. So very complex, but not hot and in your face. Just awesome.

The body is actually quite light feeling. Very dry as well. For the flavor coming out you would think this would be a big heavy beer, but it is not.

I might actually like this better than CBS. It's like a better version of Backwoods Bastard if you can imagine. Great overall beer and I hope to have it again some day. (769 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Finally got my hands on this long time personal whale. Just did a side by side of a 1 year and fresh curmudgeon old ale so ready for this one too.

Appearance: a darkish ruby color. great clarity and not as darkened in color as the year old curmudgeon. great brightness when held up to the light. about a finger of a tannish head that fades quickly. I was surprised to see that much foam at all. quite a bit of sediment at the bottom, darkens and leaves some floaties.

Smell: very sweet, lots of various flavors. molasses, vanilla, maple, smaller hints of bourbon and oak. also dark fruits, plums and figs. extremely complex and dominated by the sweeter molasses and vanilla.

Taste: when i first opened this (at cellar temp) it was still too cold to get all the nuances, especially the maple, so enjoy this on the warm side. opens up similarly to the old curmudgeon, with some molasses and dark fruits. but opens up with vanilla and a strong maple syrup taste, really surprised to find it still so strong. lots of complexity in this, sometimes i get sweet and dark crystal malts, other times i get the adjunct and the products of the barrel. rarely do i get bourbon or alcohol.

Mouthfeel: heavy, creamy, very sticky and chewy. some alcohol bitterness but never astringent.

Overall: at first I was not impressed but as it warmed up and I caught the nuances of this beer I became very impressed. love the sweetness and maple flavors. I wish i got to taste this fresh but the flavors are still strong and there. Overall I'd rate this first followed by 1 year curmudgeon and then fresh. that said all are tasty and worth while. another great founders backstage beer (1,669 characters)

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