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
96
world-class

954 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 954
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 427
Gots: 372 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 954 | Reviews: 231
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.7/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.7/5  rDev +9%
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!

Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of SportsandJorts
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
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

Photo of Spaten454
4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: it pours a burnt orange color with a small head that dissipates quickly. nice lacing. I had a lot of sediment in my pour.

S: Maple syrup, then bourbon. heaven. It smells exactly as you would think. everything blends together perfectly.

T: maple sweetness up front followed by a light bourbon in the end. Hints of caramel. nothing is overpowering. every flavor compliments the other. its not over sweet at all and the maple is fantastic.

M: Totally smooth, kinda slick like syrup. light carbonation. kinda coats the mouth.

O: Just a great beer. Def worth trying to score a bottle.

Photo of marvin213
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The look isn't all that impressive, but I know this is a bad ass beer. It's translucent and a surprisingly light brown with even a yellowish tint. I respect the sediment floating all around--even on the first small pour--so perhaps I should replace "impressive" with "predictable." It must be that lighter old ale that confused me as I just casually expected yet another bourbon barrel, pitch black stout.

The nose definitely conjures up thoughts of Old Curmudgeon. It definitely has that sweeter molasses, maple syrup type feel to the aroma. The taste is pretty magnificent, as it embodies what big beers can be. It IS so much better than Old Curmudgeon, and it IS its "better half!" That syrupy sweet, sugary molasses mixed with that semi-bitter, almost chalky, sediment floating big Ol ale that George Washington would've drank really makes for the like the perfect coupling! A phenomenal concoction! That's what it is: a concoction.

I sort of understand (I'm not a brewer)--with these ingredients and the barrel aging and all--how this is a limited edition brew. As the market gets saturated with them, however, I must say that this one definitely meets and/or exceeds expectations. Cheers, and Go Heels!

Photo of fvernon
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Deschutes snifter at around 50 degrees. It's my only bottle, so trying to make this count while I cook (and eat) a beet/fig/goat cheese pizza. Pours out a light copper with a nice, mother-of-pearl head that quickly billows up and then dissipates to a thin film across the top of the beer. A swirl brings some back up with globs of lacing, but again it quickly peters out. Still, it's very nice to look at - the color is vibrant.

This beer is a brilliant copper in the glass, with nice flashes of ruby where the light catches it. Aromas of malted biscuit, maple syrup, and a faint bourbon in the background. Something like a muted strawberry jam comes through as well. Then the first sip... way more of an alcohol bite than I was anticipating; it's all old ale and alcohol up front with the maple-bourbon-oak finish. Raisins, dates, and booze on the exhale. Subsequent sips bring forward the maple and bourbon more, even moreso than I got from my bottle of CBS. The mouthfeel is just right - thick enough to savor, but not overly chewy. I guess I could have waited on this a while longer for the booziness to calm down, but I'm still enjoying it greatly. Something I'd definitely seek out again if I can track it down on tap.

Photo of yarnbomb
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Sexy. Delicious. Aggressive. Had several fresh bottles and aged a bottle for my anniversary (I'm the curmudgeon, he's the better half). Wish I could have some more.

Photo of MattyG85
4.77/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and cloudy brownish copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which quickly recedes into a few thin patches. Lacing is moderate.

Smell: Big hints of bourbon up front with woody oak chips. Good hints of vanilla and maple syrup. Big malt presence with lots of caramel and toffee. Sweet molasses and brown sugar aromas. Also some subtle hints of dark raisin, plum, and fig. Light hints of earthy hops in the background. Quite a complex smelling beer.

Taste: As bold and complex as it smells. Big taste of bourbon and vanilla with lots of oak chip. Good amount of maple syrup and molasses. Lots of bready lightly roasted malts. Big notes of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Midway comes some hints of dark fruits including plum, fig, and raisin. Finishes with a very light hint of earthy hops. A pretty sweet brew but its far from cloying. All of the malts and barrel elements come together very well.

Mouthfeel: Feels on the thicker side with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and pretty syrupy. Actually finishes somewhat dry. The alcohol heat is felt somewhat at 11.9 % but its still pretty smooth considering.

Overall: A great Old Ale. Complex and nicely sweet without becoming too syrupy. The barrel elements add a great kick.

Photo of TwelveOunces
4.77/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a 9oz glass
Review # 300
Really had some dumb luck finding this beer

This beer is slightly hazy amber orange. Not much head to speak of and some nice alcohol legs. It is overrun with bourbon and I cant express that enough. There is a lot of whiskey elements, corn mash, rye and a slight sourness. There is also a nice woodieness to this beer, some oak, some earthy spiciness. The beer may be bourbon dominant but there is a nice heap of dark fruit flavors from the malts. The maple also makes a strong presence and is really enhanced by the sweetness of the beer. There is not much alcohol taste in here but the bourbon ads a boozy element that makes this beer a sipper. There is quite a bit of alcohol feel, unsurprisingly. The beer is pretty heavy and malty but that was obvious what it was getting into. I't's quite smooth and a prefect sipping beer as it keeps you wanting more with its complex flavors.

Overall, this beer was amazing, Very grateful I got to try it and a perfect beer to cap off another 100 reviews, cheers to 100 more.

Photo of SDDanC
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to try this. Poured from bottle, dark amber hue. Half finger of egg white head. Nose is full of rich molasses, booze and those classic old ale profiles. Sweet, sticky malts, but the maple/molasses definitely encapsulates the aroma. Taste is burn and maple up front followed by roasted barley and alcohol warmth. It finishes like a authentic waffle that crisped up a little too much. Slight butterscotch. This beer is so complex! Mouthfeel is perfect for this style. . . thick and sticky. Maple syrup coats the mouth thoroughly. Low carbonation. Overall, freaking incredible.

Photo of BelgianBeerHog26
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is fantastic. Has a great flavor from start to finish. Very unique.

I had this beer at three penny taproom in VT.

A: Beer is an amber / red hue. Slightly cloudy.

S : has a strong carmel coffee smell.

T: This beer starts off with a carmel chocolate flavor. Middle is a mild coffee. Finishes with a smooth whiskey, maple and oak flavor.

M: Medium body feel, not overly viscous but has a nice feel.

O: this beer is one the best I have had while in VT. This is pretty tough to beat. I would compare this to a maple stout in sweetness, but it finishes with a smooth carmel ethanol flavor. It is overall a fantastic beer.

Photo of kennylopez
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Cloverleaf in Caldwell, NJ poured into a snifter.

Appearance: a clearer amber color with a off white fingers worth of head that leaves beautiful lacing.

Smells: a big bourbon note with sweet vanilla and hint of toffee rounded with a dark fruit.

Tastes: this is a super yummy ale. It is sweeter than the original Old Curmudgeon's with the maple syrup playing a big role along with the barrel side notes like toffee and vanilla with a generous Bourbon character.

Mouthfeels: at just under 12% this is a big beer but hard to call a sipper. I really enjoyed this and as it warms up the bourbon builds and the slight burn is super enjoyable.

Overall: I was lucky enough to score a bottle of this when it was around, and I was even more lucky when I got to have quite a few glasses at the tapping at my favorite pub. I am curious to see if the heat mellows a bit with some time, but I fully enjoyed this brew and will soak up every bit like a sponge given the opportunity. 10 out of !0, Great Job again to Founders Brewing Co.

Photo of dar482
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a deep dark ruby red that is clear.

The aroma is just huge. There's oak chips, vanilla, tons of sweet caramel, some honey, brown sugar. The bourbon really shines through with some alcohol in there.

The flavor follows with lots of oak, wood, bourbon, and vanilla character. There's then that smooth mellow sweetness. It's so delicious with that smooth caramel, molasses, brown sugar sweetness that rolls around the tongue. It's almost like sipping on a sherry with the sweetness and big booze character.

Then follows still with that tinge of bitterness and alcohol that triggers to clean off the palate. It's great that the bitterness is still in this big sweet beer.

The body is medium to heavy, though not too large.

This beer is one of the best examples of what barrel aging can do to a beer. It completely lifts the original beer to another level. The barrel character is huge and defines what bourbon barrels do.

I thankfully had this next to Old Curmudgeon. What the barrel does to this is incredible. With the huge aroma and the mellowing out of flavors, yet still with the bitterness, the barrel makes this beer exceptional to world class.

Photo of JackieTH
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aye she's a big boned woman on the label, but she can cook up a hell of a nice stack of pancakes for the curmudgeon who's just returned to shore. Pours a hazy orange with tons of lacing. Malty, maple, bourbon barrel nose. Taste is maple syrup, creamery butter, buckwheat pancakes, vanilla, molasses, slightly sweet but this is perfectly balanced by hop. Thick, rich and creamy mouthfeel. Perfect carbonation. Absolutely fantastic.

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: Pours a nice golden but moreso brownish color that is quite hazy and has a two finger creamy head that is quite frothy and light tan in color and lingers very nicely, leaves
S: smells really delicious, tons of bourbon notes and a slight sweet note at the front end which i would imagine is from the molasses and maple syrup
T: begins with a great molasses note then kicks in with a really beautiful and warming bourbon note, finishes surprisingly smooth and clean
M: has a very thick feeling on the palate, the middle kicks with a real strong taste from the bourbon, not bad at all, finishes just slightly dry
O: really really loved this beer, such a great taste and so smooth for the incredible complexity of it, shes a beauty

Photo of Chaney
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Currently, this is #4 in the Old Ale category here on BA.

Served in an Olde Hickory shaped-glass.

A: Poured a mean, extremely cloudy brown-red color, with tons of little yeasties floating in the pool of gloriousness. The head was about 2/3 finger, mildly off-white, and settled into a white pepper sawdust formation on top of the liquid.

S: Lots of coconut-esque bourbon here which was very fresh and somewhat potent. Yeah... I can detect the whole molasses thing also.

T: Wow! I got Founders yeast profile in spades! All of the hot, sizzly notes from the original "Old Curmudgeon" are now gone, and what is left is a caramely, bourbon-infused, semi-sweet dessert that hits all the right notes!

M: Right as it hit my palate I noticed the thickness immediately. Sure, there was a bit of a syrupy quality, but that was the molasses' contribution, not the sugar's. The lacing was somewhat spotchy, but not too evident at first glance.

O: This is truly a remarkable beer and one that I believe will age quite well. However, you could drink it right now as well. How about it? Don't mean to twist your arm or anything....

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.87/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight up declicous on draft at Mad Mex I'm in love with these beers from Founders on barrel aged whiskey and maple syrup. This one fantastic version of the beers that I don't care for fresh but damn aged on both bourbon and Maple syrup barrels there's nothing out there like this in the world. Appears a deep caramel amber body with creamy tan head forming thick in my chalice. Aroma has deep chocolate and candy coated whiskey barrel notes excellent stuff indeed...incredible complex caramel alcohol and whisky accents to make one incredible beer going on. Toffee is warming up with sweet caramel layers and whiskey oak tones even vanilla coming from the charred oaky notes...big vinous layer of fruits like plums, raisins, and other super saturated sugar content fruit additions. Amazing in the balance even though it's sweet it's not an overkill beer, I'm glad I've come across it during a PCBW even. Mouthfeel is way too smooth for the alcohol level this beer goes down incredibly easy without difficulty. Maple syrup adds a whole other complex layer to an already big and good beer profile, this beer comes off complex delicious and I want more.

Photo of sjones5045
4.88/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of genuinedisciple
4.88/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Dark Amber, just beautiful.

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

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

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

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

Photo of kalifornsky
4.9/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: dark caramel, light light tan head

S: perfect amout of bourbon and sweetness.

T: the perfect amout of sweet bourbon. No bitterness.

F: a light chewiness. Not overly sticky. Lingers for a few moments.

O: one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm lucky to try this beer from the past!

Photo of yadehtsiyadot
4.95/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This forest is immensely dense. Foilage brushes against my legs as I make my way inward. I am at peace in this place. Light from beyond gleams through the trees, enveloping every blade of grass and every loose stick.

"This way", I hear a voice from the distance. Following it, I come across a great old maple tree. "What do you wish of me?" I question. "Share what I create by drinking from me", the old tree replies.

Reaching into my boot, I extract my pocket knife. Gently impaling the bark of the living wood, I open a prosperous floodgate. Scents of bourbon and maple encompass the forest. Pouring from the puncture is a beautiful, brown liquid.

"What is this?", I ponder. Reading my thoughts, the great maple replies, "This is you". "But I am me", I argue. "How can this be?" The old tree continues, "You are everything. But you divide yourself. You cut yourself in half, then quarters, then eigths, sixteenths, etc...forgetting what you truly are".

Confused, I bend down and take a gulp of the nectar. Everything is understood. This is me. This is my Better Half.

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.97/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Photo of Mitchill
4.97/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at New Albanian's gravity head and was great then on the way home stopped at my local beer store and found a bottle needless to say I bought one. Appearance was much like the color of maple syrup, golden brown. Smell was great, bourbon accompanied by the usual Curmudgeon fragrance. Taste was great dark fruits, sweetness but not too cloying, vanilla, bourbon, coconut and then after it warmed a bit i got the maple with it all detected the creaminess of this beer. Definitely world class glad i got too try it and still have one left to age a bit longer

Photo of JustinMatthew
4.97/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at South Philly Tap Room and Poured to a wine glass. Amber color, good head and lacing.

Smell is all barrel qualities.. Vanilla, coconut, bourbon, some oak, brown sugar and maple syrup.

Taste is fantastic.. incredibly sweet and candy like. Bourbon barrel qualities.. oak, vanilla, coconut. Good bit of butterscotch and caramel coming through. I would love to see Founders do a barrel blend with this and some KBS.. im convinced it would be one of the worlds best beers.

Warming and delicious beer, the tap version was fresh.. i have a bottle im looking to open after one year and rotting my teeth out.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 954 ratings.