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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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231 Reviews
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Reviews: 231
Hads: 958
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 426
Gots: 369 | 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
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Reviews: 231 | Hads: 958
Photo of Stevedore
4.26/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, generously shared by Eric at a pre-4elf bottleshare today, 12/14/2013. Poured probably 6oz into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass. Thanks a lot buddy, hope you found that hot blonde...

Pours a thick and viscous but clear amber body, fairly decent but not close to a finger's worth of white head, retention is decent. Becomes a fairly placid brew with a thin film on top, no collar. Not much lacing to be found. Really, I think the labeling makes me perceive this as maple syrup in appearance.

Smells nice and sweet- similar to Sweet Repute really. Very caramelly and toffee heavy with a decent dose of maple syrup sweetness. Very sweet and not particularly hoppy or anything like that. Its a one note beer that really stands out. Love that maple syrup booziness.

Same as the nose- very tasty, very sweet and caramel forward with a nice complementary maple flavour. Its quite boozy actually, which I would have figured to go away with a year plus on it, but I guess not- never had it fresh so I don't know. In any case, it's very sweet but not in a cloying way. It's probably better fresh.

Thick, viscous and full-bodied. Carbonation is a bit low, but this is still an enjoyable sipper. Running a bit hot as mentioned before. Not bitter at all- very nice and caramel-forward with complementary toffee and maple notes on the backend.

Such a sweet beer, makes me wonder if that's a Founders thing. In any case, I think this was a nice treatment of Old Curmudgeon that still worked out even all this time later.

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Photo of bound4er
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Cloudy, amber appearance with some noticeable floating pieces of gunk. Off white, fast breaking head.

S. Barrel influences of oak, vanilla, caramel, spice and pitted fruit. Very nice.

T. Potent stuff - oak, vanilla, caramel malt, alcohol - everything you'd expect from a barrel aged old ale. Finishes with a cherry infused, lingering bitterness.

M. Medium body with minimal carbonation. I would have liked a little more mouthfeel from this beer.

O. This is a strong effort from Founders though I am not a big fan of this style beer.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.19/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

so much flavor in this beauty from founders, the reigning king of huge brews. this takes the best features of the old ale, the molasses, the warming quality, and the depth of the malt bill, and amplifies it enormously. the bourbon does its typical thing, charcoal and vanilla and sweet booze, predictable. what isn't predictable here is the maple aspect. no I may personally be extremely partial to anything maple, but what it does to this beer is divine, that thin distinctive sugary flavor that is so unique really melds with the molasses flavors of the old ale and the vanilla from the bourbon. it is hotly alcoholic though, which hurts it for me, I want to pound on this and I cant or I will fall asleep or worse. still, its nicely carbonated and feels lighter than it is. classic depth of flavor, especially the maple, it adds an entirely different vibe to what was already a very good beer. this needs to be copied by other brewers, there is a lesson to be learned from this. its a landmark beer really. I could see it aging longer and improving further too.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
3.81/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful clear amber color, but with only a minimal, frothy peach colored head that dies away after a few minutes and leaves nothing but sporadic scars of lacing on the side of the glass. Appears a bit lifeless.

The aroma is a wonderful mix of sweet caramel, maple, vanilla, booze, fig pudding.

CBH washes over the palate with an ease not often seen in beers over 11% abv. This beer is a sweet mixture of caramel, maple, bourbon, and booze soaked vanilla beans. This is punctuated by a alcoholic maple-figgy-bourbon quality on the exhale and aftertaste. There is only a subtle lingering bitterness....almost zero hop presence here. Dominated by the malts.

Thick, lame carbonation, and a bit oily. No heat though, and for a beer that is 11.9% and somehow eliminates the burn of raw alcohol, I am impressed.

Founders does such an amazing job of integrating barrel-aging with thier beers and somehow not making it a hot mess. This is not the most successful, but I think it was completely enjoyable, and for sure I would want to drink this again.

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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 dar482
4.84/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

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Photo of raleigh_blue
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on draft at sams in Durham. shaker.

pours a reddish brown with a slight head. smell is of booze and caramel. very strong. taste is boozy, a tad sweet with the caramel and very full bodied. its a big boozy beer.

overall , drink this slow as its definitely a sipper. I had it 2 yrs old on tap and it was still extremely boozy. be prepared.

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Photo of kalifornsky
4.9/5  rDev +14%
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!

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Photo of zac16125
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750mL bottle into a snifter

A big thanks to coreyfmcdonald for sending this one over in a trade!

A: Pours a dark copper brown. Its opaque with a small amount of sedimentation suspended in the glass and just over 1 fingers width of light tan head, which dissipates down fairly quickly and leaves effectively zero lacing.

S: Sweet, almost tart, anise, apple. I don't really get much bourbon or maple, actually more similar to an apple brandy barrel. Really unique aroma, but not that great honestly, and not very Old Ale ish.

T: There is a unique almost tart quality up front, which is alright, but then its followed by some really great flavors including a sugary sweetness, bourbon, maple syrup, molasses, oak, toffee. Its fairly boozy, but not in a bad way. I also get some citrus type characters, and nutmeg. Again, this is very unique. Theres a lot going on here, its quite complex, but its missing a lot of the typical old ale qualities that I really enjoy and look for in the style. Maple syrup builds as it warms, bourbon barrel remains fairly faint though.

M/D: Full bodied, very low carbonation but that is appropriate, slightly syrupy (pun intended), ABV is certainly noticeable. All things considered though, drinkability is pretty good. Personally I like the low carbonation and syrupy quality that allows it to drink almost like a spirit.

O: Overall, Im pretty disappointed. Don't get me wrong, its a good beer for sure, it just didnt live up to expectations and IMO its not to style. I would definitely drink this again if offered to me, but I dont plan to seek out another botttle.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A -pours a rusty copper color similar to melted caramel. Pour does not yield any foam.

S - the nose is deep, sweet and oak forward. lots of buttery notes play off sweet grains creating aromas reminiscent of buttered bread or pancakes. Maple syrup notes add the sweetness. as it warms grape-y notes come forth adding a congac style flavor.

T -oaky and buttery up front. Reminiscent of a California chardonnay. There is a slight bit of boozy quality which settles into a cognac flavor in the center. Hints of grapes and pears as well. A refreshing hit of Peppermint on the finish.

M - medium bodied but nearing full. straddling a line between Creamy and watery texture. Medium carbonation.

O - a very complex and nuanced beer. much better than i had expected. very good stuff.

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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 BMMillsy
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from burg. Thanks! Pours a hazy dark reddish brown with minimal cream colored head. Big bourbon maple vanilla aroma, some interesting spice notes, and sweet sweet malt. Flavor follows with a sweet vanilla maple and very subdued bourbon. Again an unexpected spicy kick toward the end here. This seems to have held up well (though did not have it fresh). Very smooth with a nice alcohol warmth. Medium low carbonation, and really drinks like a barley wine. This is excellent, despite not being a huge fan of the regular curmudgeon. I would probably take this over Sucaba. Yum. Now I just need to find a Blushing Monk to complete the set!

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Photo of Spaten454
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of yadehtsiyadot
4.95/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

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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 pmarlowe
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Scoot1969 for this. Tulip glass.

A: Barely a shimmer of tan colored head, leaving just a thin ring over a deep caramel body. Very good clarity, no lacing, and decent retention.

S: Dark fruit and spice, this smells like Christmas. Herbal, grassy honey, mint, caramel. Loads of syrupy molasses. A little alcohol burn. The barrel character is quite tame, but the nose exhibits excellent complexity.

T: Sweet, syrup-like molasses, vanilla, rich caramel, a bit of alcohol and bourbon, Andes candies, with a little hop bitterness on the finish. Lots of chocolate mint… interesting.

M: Full bodied, medium-light, soft carbonation.

O: The overriding flavor is very prominent vanilla-infused, minty syrup. Pretty unusual and good complexity, which makes this good slow sipper, but probably limits how much of this you could drink.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 3.29.13

A - Pours a dark carmel brown with a small light tan head with good retention.

S - Bourbon, maple, molasses. As advertised.

T - Rich carmel and toffee, then some licorice, bourbon and oak in the finish.

D - Heavier body with good carbonation.

O - Lots of bourbon and molasses make this a sweet carmel bourbon delight.

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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 Hugonaut13
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml poured into a FW Snifter. Big thanks to ObiWanKushnobi for this bottle! Pro tip- turn this bottle up and down a few times gently to mix it up. Tip is from cfrances33 and obiwankushnobi.

A- Pours like reddish maple syrup. Looks thick as it pours. Enough carbonation to know it's there. Head recedes quickly. Floating chunks (like heady) sprinkled throughout the beer. Looks decadent!

S- Smells like watered down maple bourbon. Fantastic! It immediately let's you know this is a sweet treat that is going to take awhile to drink.

T- The taste starts very maple/molasses forward as that dissipates into smooth bourbon. Finishes with classic tastes of raisins, figs, toffee, and sweet malt to let you know that the base beer still exist inside. Quite sweet but not overpowering. Definitely a sipper. I'm completely enjoying this.

M- This is a heavy beer (as the style should be). Enough carbonation to keep this from being a chore to drink. Very smooth. The 11.9% is not present in burn.

O- Nice job Founders. Curmudgeon's is one of my favorite yearly releases from them and this takes it to another level. All the flavors work well together to become a rich, satisfying old ale. No single flavor overpowers the rest of the beer. If you enjoy sweet beers, seek this out.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1300th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in 2/2012. Pours lightly hazy ruby red color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lasts. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, maple syrup, bourbon, raisin, fig, molasses, toast, toffee, brown sugar, herbal earthiness, oak, leather, pepper, light vanilla, and light coconut. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of barrel character and malt notes; hardly any alcohol presence. Taste of big caramel, molasses, maple syrup, toast, toffee, bourbon, raisin, fig, vanilla, oak, pepper, herbal earthiness, leather, and light coconut. Lingering notes of caramel, maple syrup, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, bourbon, vanilla, oak, pepper, leather, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of robust malt flavor with well balanced barrel character; and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and thick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged old ale. Fantastic complexity and balance of malt and barrel flavors; and moderately smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable slow sipper.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

One year old, bottled Feb 2012, enjoyed Feb 2013 amongst a tasting group. Pours a copper-ish, deep amber color with very nice clarity. An almost light-yellow, eggshell like head tops this one off and leaves tiny bits of lacing along the sides of the glass.

The nose on this one is heavy and full of many different things; bourbon, oak, light vanilla, light black licorice, sweet and juicy dark fruits, boozy figs, dates, and raisins, sweet toffee and caramel, and a very faint maple aroma that comes out more and more as time goes on. I'd like to believe the maple was much heavier when fresh, but it's still hidden and can be found even a year after bottling. Sweet and boozy all around.

Curmudgeon's Better Half doesn't waste any time getting down to business. It hits the palate with a heavy mix of bourbon, oak, licorice, caramel and sweet fruits. More figs, raisins, and dates that have been soaked in bourbon, and dipped in a brown sugar bath. No surprises here - the malt is heavy and gives off a huge molasses and caramel sweetness, sugary and sticky like syrup. Oak flavors are a touch mellow, but definitely there, along with the maple syrup which seems to kind of just blend into the background with everything else.

The booze is strong on this one, especially when you consider the fact that it's one-year old and only 11.9% ABV. Feels much closer to the 15% range. The maple characteristic is strongest in the aftertaste, which is also full of more oak, sweet bread, over-ripe dark fruits, and more bourbon. Thick and almost chewy body, sticky and syrupy, low-medium amount of carbonation.

Surprisingly bourbon heavy and almost even "hot" for being a 11.9% ABV year-old ale, but still pretty drinkable and definitely full of flavor. Lots of sweetness and oak flavors, along with a very, very mild maple characteristic. Was this one worth the price? Probably not, but it was still pretty damn good. I enjoyed it.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Cloudy amber, some carbonation, some carbonation, one finger head with lacing.

S-Maple bourbon, molasses, very sweet. Tad bit of grass.

T-Sweet, yet balanced. Maple, molasses and bourbon. Mild bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium bodied, with some carbonation.

O-A great beer, a friend shared it, so glad. The perfect pairing with Pancakes. Bourbon and maple were great together. Wish I could have tried it fresh though.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.4/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The bottle was chilled and served in a snifter.

A- The body of the beer is a a rusty amber coloration. The head is a creamy white coloration. A lot of sediment is noted in the bottom of my glass. This is some ugly looking shit.

S- The aroma of the beer has plenty of maple, carmelized bananas, peat and earthen notes. The aroma rounds out with vanilla and I swear I am getting rum.

T- This beers flavors are maple sweet, brown sugar a bit of peat and treaclely earthyness keeps the sweetness in check.

M- The body of the beer is medium with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is very sticky and a bit hot on the alcohol notes.

O- This beer is a bit on the sweet side. The peat and the earthyness of the beer somewhat conteract the sweetness. Frankly I think this beer needed a bit more time to sit in the bottle.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle shared and served in a taster. Pours a dark amber hue that is slightly lighter than maple syrup. Nose reveals booze, maple syrup notes, a sugary character and a slightly medicinal quality. Taste expresses toffee and also candy flavors (maybe Reese's Pieces). There's also a trace of toasted wood. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a carbonation that is just short of lively. Texture is slightly oily. Overall, a really enjoyable BA Old Ale - that said, when I had the opportunity to try this at NOTB it was a lot more maple forward. It is still drinking very well, and the alcohol heat has dissipated, but the maple has definitely dropped off.

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