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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

231 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 231
Hads: 957
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 430
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 MattyG85
4.77/5  rDev +10.4%
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. (1,387 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, maple and a faint bourbon note. In the taste, sweet vanilla and bourbon, and the alcohol sneaks up in the end. A small alcohol bite and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry vanilla and hint of alcohol in the aftertaste. Big bourbon with a nice sweet maple, very smooth and quite sneaky. (370 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly translucent mahogany color, with a slight beige head. The aroma was definite oak, with some bourbon and sweetness. You can get some nutty syrup qualities, caramel and nuttiness. The taste is rather rich. Bit caramel notes, maple, oak, a tinge of bourbon, followed by a rather warming alcohol finish. It's a thick beer, almost chewy, full bodied and rich. It's definitely a chore somewhat.

I'm glad this was only a 12oz fliptop, otherwise, I don't know if I could commit to a whole 750 of this beast... (520 characters)

Photo of jjanega08
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness dating.

A= Pours a deep amber color with a small off white head on it that holds some retention for how small it is and some pretty nice lacing. When held to the light it is a hazy orange color.

S= The smell is nice oak aromas. A little vanilla and maple in it but not too much of an aroma. There is a snag of caramel malts but again sort of quiet on the odor.

T= The taste is a great mix of maple, vanilla, oak, bourbon, and sweet caramel malts. Mollasses is a major contributor to the sweetness I think. The flavor is much more potent than the aroma would lead you to believe and a little alcohol flavor comes through as well.

M= The mouth is a nice amount of carbonation and body.

O= This is a solid brew for sure. The flavor is no let down with it's complexity and depth. Tons of stuff going on there. The nose isn't too much to brag about and for the craziness I went through to get a bottle I would say I wouldn't do it all over for another bottle but hey, I got to try it and it was delicious. (1,019 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, shared with a friend. Pours light copper in color with a surprisingly thick, frothy head given the high ABV, holds good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. Some yeast particles suspended in the ale also. Aroma is sugary sweet with vanilla, oak, toffee, caramel, and is quite boozy. Tastes are cloyingly sweet at times with notes of toffee, vanilla, sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, oak, booze, and faint white pepper on the finish. Not much for bourbon noted. Mouth-feel is thick and creamy, but finishes edgy from the booze. Overall, I think I got my hopes up a little too high for this one. For uniqueness, it's great and I'm glad I tried it, but I think I was expecting more from it. Excellent Founders quality nonetheless. (750 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a small head that quickly fades to a ringlet; leaving a paucity of lacing action

Smell: The scent of oak, molasses and maple dominate though there is quite a sting on the nose from the ABV

Taste: Maple flavor up front, with the oak, molasses and booze adding character by mid-palate; leathery caramel in the middle, but the finish is oaky and dry but rather sweet in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with gentle carbonation; perfect for the style

Overall: This is one of those beers that will clearly improve with age; drinks nicely now, but I suspect that I would enjoy the impact a year or two would have on this beer (672 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber color with a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with some brown sugar notes. Some maple syrup along with some alcohol heat.

Taste: Sweet malt with some dark fruit notes along with some alcohol heat. I love the maple syrup notes. I'm getting some mild coconut along with a bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Big fan of this one. Just enough bitterness so the malt isn't overpowering. The maple and coconut notes were wonderful. I'd definitely have this one again. (697 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
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.... (1,122 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light brown color with a small cream head that quickly dissipates, leaving a ring of foam around the rim.

Aroma is very sweet and boozy, bourbon, maple, and vanilla, accompanied buy dark fruit scents of plum, figs, and cherry esters. Burnt toffee is evident late.

Chocolate malt, maple, vanilla, and bourbon start a flavor explosion that is significantly less cloying than the aroma would indicate, due to the surprisingly dry finish. Alcohol is fairly evident, and subtle flavors of dates, figs, and bruised cherries add complexity. Maple becomes more noticeable as it warms.

Body is fairly syrupy, with minimal carbonation. A significant alcohol warmth is present.

Overall, much more drinkable than anticipated. Fairly complex flavor, but not over the top in any direction. A little more pronounced dark fruit flavor would really make this awesome. (867 characters)

Photo of socon67
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Founder's Tap Takeover, Double Windsor

A - Dark amber pour, clinging lacing to the glass, and a thin tan foam.

S - Smells of fresh maple, caramel, mohogany wood, and distilled bourbon whaff from the glass. Over time the sweetness became more prominent.

T - Very up front taste of maple syrup. There was also a bit of candied fruit flavor. The subdued burn at the end gives this variant a mellower profile than the regular Curmudgeon. The finish does give a flavor of refined bourbon.

M - While this is a perfect cordial drink, I found it so intense that even one glass was probably too much. There is no quality to make me have more than one, but that one glass is awesome.

O - So glad to try this on tap. It will appeal to your sweet tooth, and I found it better used maple and oburbon notes than CBS. (829 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 Huhzubendah
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is amber colored and mildly hazy with a small white head. The aroma is the best aspect of the beer, in my opinion. Oak, vanilla, maple, sugar, syrup, booze. The flavor is complex and well done, albeit too sweet. This seems like a beer that will age gracefully. Lots of oak, sweet maple, vanilla. Alcoholic warmth in the finish. A few ounces of this beer is plenty. I am looking forward to opening another one of these further on down the road. (452 characters)

Photo of GregSVT
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a clear bourbon brown with a big very light tan head that fades to a big ring and leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of caramel, toffee, honey, vanilla, and a hint of maple. Definitely smells sweet.

T: The taste is seriously sweet but oh so good. Starts with a big vanilla presence that transitions to caramel, honey, and toffee along with a slight hint of maple. The taste borders on cloying...it's pretty damn sweet.

M: The feel is medium bodied and creamy.

O: The sweetness of this beer kind of detracts from the overall enjoyment but not so much that I won't finish the whole thing. I really was looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. I may or may not try to get another one for aging...we'll see how I feel about it at the end of the bottle.

And survey says...too sweet. I don't see how aging this would make it any better...in fact it may get even sweeter. (948 characters)

Photo of Treebs
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle shared in line at DLD. Thanks to either khumbard or cpmichael! Served in a Deschutes tulip.

A: Pours a hazy golden amber with deep rosy hues in the body. There are a lot of floaties in this guy. No real head forms on the pour, just a thin film that recedes to tiny ring. It leaves some splotches behind.

S: Leather and tobacco mix nicely with some light oak and bourbon. Dark fruits, mainly dates and figs are also present with the slightest hint of maple.

T: The maple syrup really shows itself in the taste. It's very sweet, but it's balanced by the light bourbon and oak. Also some nice dark fruits and pale malts show themselves. Smalls hints of tobacco.

M: Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Sweet syrup finish that is a tad dry.

O: It was really sweet from the maple and the boubon took a back seat, but it was very good overall and the booze was very well hidden. I see this syndrom appearing with CBS as well where the bourbon isn't that present and the maple sort of takes over. Either way, both are great. (1,036 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thinnish offwhite head, tawny red-amber body, clear.

Nose has alcohol, bourbon, a bit of maple.

Body is smooth, rich-- much less bitter than draft, rich, dripping with almost buttery maple syrup. Magnificent rich body. Aftertaste is a bit burning, but not offensive.

Mouthfeel is impeccably smooth.

This rode the hype-coattails of CBS. It's good, and has the air of being a special/exclusive brew, if not as mind-blowing as some of the other limited releases. (463 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice, and long sipper, hefty on its sweet side.

Presentation: 750 ml brown capped oz bottle. Founders framing with a so-so illustration of the wife of the curmudgeon serving him maple syrup over some pancakes. It offers a short one-line description. Shows 11.9% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a snifter.

A - Clear deep amber brown pour, creamy thin head with moderate retention, fair surface memory and lacing.

S - Malty and sweet nose with vanilla/bourbon notes. Pleasing and compact…

T - It unfolds a bit more in the palate. The sweetness takes center/stage but it is not overwhelming. Caramel, syrup… Plenty of malt with fruity touches under a soft vanilla/oak/bourbon flow with a touch of spices leading back to the sweet sense.

M - Medium/full body, rather smooth, somewhat syrupy… but not cloying. Moderate carbonation with a soft tingle.

O - Nice sipper, maybe a touch too easy, the sweetness is not overwhelming and it flows almost without one's notice.

Notes: Not worth the hype. Don't take me wrong: I was glad to try this bottle, and I had it with pleasure. But this ain't that memorable (to me…) It is a bourbonesque Curmudgeon? A sweeter Backwoods's Bastard? Something like that for me, and that puts it on a high quality bracket. And I'd gladly repeat it, but just not under the sense of elitism that surrounded the arrival of these bottles. (1,365 characters)

Photo of mscudder
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed around 2 months back and documented. Poured into a pint glass.

A - A cloudy amber with a minute head. The lacing was superb.

S - Some sweet sugars came out of the nose, but rather bland overall.

T - Caramel and butterscotch dominate the initial taste. It is followed by a similar maple syrup taste to the CBS (which was a top 3 beer I have ever had the pleasure to consume). I must make note that I found the maple syrup to be a bit out of place here. It certainly adds to the beer and is enjoyable, but I cannot help but reflect on the greatness of the CBS.

M - A huge body on this one for an old ale. Thick and syrupy yet finishes crisp and clean. Excellent!

O - Unique brew that has the composition of a big stout that I found a bit out of place in an old ale. This is a fantastic beer, but I feel the style just does not permit such a bold body. That said, if one of these rare bottles is laying around in a local store/pub, give it a shot. It is truly one of the most unique beers I have ever had! (1,017 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear copper with a finger of off-white head that recedes into a thin layer with a little layer.

S: The aroma is dominated by vanilla and maple syrup. Bourbon, oak, and caramel also are present. There are also some slight flora citrus notes.

T: Maple dominates on the tongue, though it's not overwhelmingly sweet. Caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon are also present throughout. The finish has a slight alcohol burn.

M: Thick body with low carbonation, this beer is thick and sticky sweet, though not overly so.

O: A very good beer, overall. Lots of nice maple and bourbon characteristics in the nose and palate. It is a little on the sweet side, but not by much. (677 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
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. (430 characters)

Photo of tewaris
2.92/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Old Curmudgeon aged in maple bourbon barrels. 750 from 2012 release split among three. Thanks Dan!

Clear dark amber with not much of a head or retention. Weird aroma dominated by cough syrup, cloying sweetness, rose water and spice. Tastes sweet, slightly bitter and boozy. Silky and coating with a medium body and medium carbonation. Very very meh.

4, 2, 3, 4, 3 (366 characters)

Photo of Holland
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a clear reddish brown color with a thin tan head that leaves a nice lacing covering half of the glass.

S: sweet malt, bourbon, vanilla, alcohol. The smells aren't in your face, but they're nice.

T: big malt character with sweetness, bourbon, brown sugar, wood, and a bit of an alcohol burn.

M: medium body, with a lot of alcohol making it seem thinner. Carbonation is right on for my liking at a medium level.

O: I drank this too warm. Would love to get another bottle down the road. Easily drinkable and delicious tasting. (540 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Dogfish snifter. It poured brown orange in color with a thin, sticky lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The maple syrup bourbon barrels really stand out in the aroma for me. I get some bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla mixing with the maple syrup sweetness. The malty sweetness in the base beer comes out as well, but the maple and bourbon steal the show for me. There is a lot of sweetness to it, but the flavors are good enough to pull it off.

The taste also shows some very good bourbon and maple flavors to it. The bourbon is very smooth with more of the maple and brown sugar sweetness showing up up front, with oak and vanilla coming out towards the finish. The taste feels more balanced than the aroma did with some bitterness towards the finish really helping in that department. Everything really comes together well in it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little above average. Overall, I thought it was a very good beer. The bourbon and maple flavors were definitely the highlight and maybe even overshadowed the beer a little too much, but they were pretty great flavors. The flavors all really work together well. Really good beer overall. (1,223 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half

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

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

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

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

OVERALL: A really great beer. Drink it first or last as it tends to overshadow others. The expressive barrel notes and most excellent base beer of Curmudgeon taste like they were always meant to be together. (623 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.87/5  rDev +12.7%
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. (1,153 characters)

Photo of GameChicken
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great beer...really enjoyed it and had been looking for it for awhile.

A: burnt orange....

S: Maple, Bourbon, Vanilla....

T: Some bourbon on the nose with a nice maple/vanilla sweet finish...mild carbonation.

M: Good body with mild carbonation...not much carb needed with this beer. Good lacing on the glass despite minimal head.

O: Another great beer from Founders. Kind of reminds me of Backwoods Bastard, and that is a great thing. I wish they would make this in larger batches. (486 characters)

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