1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

872 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 872
Reviews: 224
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%


Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.

(Beer added by: Jason on 01-09-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 872 | Reviews: 224 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.

A: Pours brown with a small off-white head on top with some decent lacing that hangs on the sides for a while.

S: There was some maple, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and bourbon all mixed together. On the sweet side, very inviting.

T: A nice blend of bourbon and maple. Brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and some oak. It has a nice sweetness, but not over the top at al.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol hidden nicely.

O: One of my favorite Old Ales, probably because of the barrel aging. Would certainly drink again.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2012 15:14:50 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle from Mink's Package (Marietta, GA). 13.99. Served in a Terrapin snifter. 

Pours ruddy red with two fingers pale head. Cloudy with particulates aplenty. Small spots of occasional lacing. 

Smells of maple, vanilla, sugar and mild alcohol. 

Taste is a smooth blend of vanilla, maple, caramel, bourbon, earthy grass and an almost sour apple. Interesting and pleasing. 

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. 

Another tasty treat from Founders. Nice creamy blend of smooth flavor. Well done. 

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2012 00:40:40 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of mfavoino
mfavoino

Washington

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a New Belgium globe on 8/25/12.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with one finger of head that immediate pushes to the sides and creates a rim around the glass. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Strong bourbon aroma and maple sweetness dominate the nose. Really interesting aroma.

Taste: Bourbon right off the bat that is immediately smoothed out with a sweet maple syrup flavor. Nice caramel malts, a brown sugar undertone, and a touch of wood in the flavor. Finishes nice and smooth with the maple lingering.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with some boozy heat as it finishes.

Overall: The maple really worked for me, as I didn't find it too sweet. I could see some palates thinking it's too sweet. Bourbon gives another dimension that brings the whole beer together.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2012 00:52:00 | More by mfavoino
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I <3 old Curmy, so i knew i had to try this. Boatshoes sent me a box with this.

Body is a auburn amber sunburst color. Thin cap that fades rather quickly.
The nose is awesome! (exclamation point) Full nose of maple sweetness and i love it. Alcohols and vanilla bourbons(plural).
My wife called out maple right away but she is a Canadian, which is commonly known to be cheating.
Flavors have more alcohol heat then the sweetness that the nose had, not bad at all i like heat it just tones down the richness a tad. bourbon is more upfront with oak. Maple and molasses are there in 2nd place. brown sugar. <3 this beer.
body is good, stops short of sticky, mild carbonation.

<3 great beer to sip on for 3 hours tonight. Boatshoes is going to get a nice box back, he better watch himself.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 05:18:31 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of thedoubler55
thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish Copper in color a bit transparent, a nice finger of off white head at the top, the lacing around the glass was moderate.

S: The nose of this brew was very uniqure, strong hint of bourbon right from the start, hints of brown sugar, caramel, honey,plum, and some vanilla.

T: Same as the nose, very bold taste up front, strong hints of bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar and some notes of dark fruit.

M: The alcohol is very strong and hits you right away causing a warm feeling on the tongue, moderate carbonation and syrupy.

O: Strong brew, I am good with having tried it, but I am a bigger fan of the old Curmudgeon.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2012 16:50:28 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Well hazed plum color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is below average, even for the ABV, but a decent lattice of lacing is left.

4.5 S: The maple syrup is huge in this. It's about twice as potent as in CBS. Molasses follows, then raisin, plum, tobacco, and apple fruitiness. The bourbon influence is minimal, but it does add an extra layer of complexity along with some oak. Plenty of caramel and a bit of toffee. Smells great and the alcohol is well hidden.

3.5 T: The taste is taken over by raisin and tobacco, which even pushed aside the maple syrup. Following those, molasses, plum, apple, oak, and maple syrup are found. The bourbon is a good bit stronger in the taste and it brings along a booziness that is expected with a 12% brew. The reason that I don't like this more is because it is pretty damn sweet. Not Bruery sweet, but sweeter than it needs to be. Otherwise, it is tasty.

3.5 M: Heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy, but it's a bit syruppy as well and gives a hefty chewiness.

3.5 D: It's tasty, but I wish it fermented out a bit more. Love the flavors, but just too much sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2012 03:53:20 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.88/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has been lounging in my fridge for a while.

Pours a beautiful, if cloudy amber with a one-finger head into my glass.

Maple, molasses and bourbon stand out on the nose. Plum too. Very sweet.

Lots of bourbon upfront that's easily quelled by molasses and maple as well. Mildly syrupy, tart. Drinks more like a strong ale at times.

Warms the throat very well. Mellow with just hints of maple left for flavor at the back.

Whoa. Should have saved this for the first snowfall of winter.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 04:05:44 | More by Brad007
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2012 03:39:57 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of warnerry
warnerry

Michigan

4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear deep amber with almost two fingers of tan head. Head has pretty good retention. Only small spots of lacing.

S - Nice bourbon presence, with quite a bit of vanilla and oak in the aroma. Also a bit of caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar. Definitely some noticeable alcohol, but it doesn't detract from the aroma.

T - Caramel is more apparent in the taste, but vanilla and oak are still the spotlight flavors. The is sweetness, but not as much as I feared. The oak cuts the sweetness nicely. Taste is also a bit boozy. Very smooth flavors. Really tasty.

M - Full mouthfeel. Smooth and slick, with sweetness up front, but a nice dry, oaky finish.

O - I don't enjoy Curmudgeon enough to get it very often, but this is a nice use of the base beer. Very nice sipper.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2012 00:18:27 | More by warnerry
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1411th Review on BA
Bottle to Bruery Taster
750ml

Vintage 2012

Thanks to Fear025 for sharing

App- A bit darker than a cream soda. Good bubbles on the pour with a good amount of cling for an old ale.

Smell- Really took the base beer to another level. More oak, vanilla and richness to the base malts of the old ale style. A bit bigger but needed a little bit more behind it.

Taste- This old ale is a lot like the Bruery Anny series, just a bit smaller and a bit fresher. More pop with Vanilla and cream and a little bit of a malt backbone. Added touches of a cinnamon/nutmeg glaze flavor.

Mouth- A fairly creamy medium body with a medium thick carbonation. A good residual maple/vanilla flavor.

Drink- A good rep of the style. Im glad I got to try it finally without having to give up arm/leg. The maple is a good flavor.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2012 04:17:42 | More by FosterJM
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2012 00:20:01 | More by woosterbill
Photo of JohnnyHopps
JohnnyHopps

Indiana

4.7/5  rDev +9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 16:30:33 | More by JohnnyHopps
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 21:31:39 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2012 14:47:33 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of tobelerone
tobelerone

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with a finger of off-white head that settles slowly to a thin band. Patchy lacing on the glass. Good clarity. Aroma is somewhat boozy and sweet, with mild maple notes, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and a prominent oakiness.

Complex flavor with subtler maple than anticipated as well as lower overall sweetness. All elements are well-integrated: maple, brown sugar and toffee, bourbon, vanilla, some darker fruits; oak barrel character; raisins and toasted malt.

Medium to slightly full bodied, with moderate carbonation. A little lighter than I’d like but still very smooth. I almost want a more syrupy mouthfeel as that would befit the maple character well. Overall a strong and boozy treat and a pretty damn tasty one. Falls a little short of being truly exceptional but still a very interesting beer. Wish I had a few more to enjoy over time.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2012 14:36:16 | More by tobelerone
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to someone for sharing at bu11zeye's 10,000th rating tasting.

The beer pours an orange-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is awesome. I get a lot of maple and oak notes, as well as some vanilla and toffee malt. The flavor is very similar. There is a lot of maple and vanilla from the barrel aging. I also get quite a bit of toffee and caramel malt, as well as some alcohol. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2012 04:11:50 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Stevezie
Stevezie


4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2012 03:04:33 | More by Stevezie
Photo of hardy008
hardy008

Minnesota

4.63/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2012 20:19:59 | More by hardy008
Photo of BostonHops
BostonHops

Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep amber tone while yielding a 1" off-white head that lapses relatively quickly into a collar around the glass. nose offers alluring notes of caramel/toffee, bourbon, vanilla. not getting much maple, but it's still a great aroma.

flavor picks up where the nose leaves off with strong and delicious elements of caramel, bourbon, brown sugar, vanilla, and a touch of dark fruit. a subdued maple presence evident here. booze is a factor but it's not overpowering. medium-plus bodied with average carbonation.

overall a tasty treat to be sure. relatively complex and completely tasty. wish it was easier to come by.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2012 21:58:04 | More by BostonHops
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 08:28:59 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of mothman
mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Andrew for sharing.

Pours a little white head. Color is an orange amber.

Aroma: lots of maple syrup and barrel flavors. Toffee, caramel, and lots of malts. A little mint. Bourbon and oak.

Taste: mimics the nose but there is a little less mint and more maple syrup. A little more sweet and malty. Nice barrel flavors.

Mouthfeel: warming and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sweet and syrupy.

Overall, a bit too sweet for me, but the flavors were good. The maple bourbon barrels were nice but they brought a mint flavor with it that I didn't like.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 01:20:32 | More by mothman
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice ruby red with some brown highlights and a thin but creamy white head. There are a lot of floaters in it, but it doesn't take away from the appearance too much.

S- Vanilla, oak, raisins, brown sugar, and alcohol. Very aromatic, complex, and appealing.

T- Vanilla, maple syrup, brown sugar, and alcohol. Complex and maybe a bit young.

M- The carbonation is nice and the alcohol is most definitely apparent because of the warmth.

O- Complex, tasty, boozy, and well made.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 00:46:33 | More by david131
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into snifter, split with fellow BA’s. Thanks for this one Jay! Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a deep glowing burnt amber with a finger of light khaki head that faded to a faint collar. Decent amount of floaties caught in suspension.
S: Vanilla, spicy barrel, bourbon is light, very sugary but molasses isn’t prominent. Maple is noticeable. Very spicy and peppery.
T: Maple, molasses, raisins, caramel, bread crust, vanilla, spicy barrel wood, and hot alcohol. Finish contains leather and the aftertaste is raisins, maple and caramel. Sweet overall. Bourbon character is only decent though. The maple and molasses really shine.
M: Smooth mouth but the alcohol is a bit warm still. Thick body, sticky and chewing feeling.
O: Very rich and decadent beer. Could use a few more months of age so that the alcohol can mellow though. Very flavorful, would drink again. Thanks again buddy (jbck109)!

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2012 02:21:58 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

4.53/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 23:14:57 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of fvernon
fvernon

Indiana

4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2012 22:08:58 | More by fvernon
Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 872 ratings.