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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

Educational use only; do not reuse.

231 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 231
Hads: 961
Avg: 4.3
pDev: 10.93%
Wants: 425
Gots: 365 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 231 | Hads: 961
Photo of jimmy82063
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First beer for my vacation!

A) Looking directly down in the glass this is a very nice amber brown with a thin head that quickly dissipates.

S) Bourbon, Maple and a bit of Vanilla

T) Bourbon is definitely up front, followed by the maple and molasses. Vanilla is also present. There is a nice spiciness as well.

M) Very smooth alchohol is very well hidden.

O) Great beer....wish I had another!

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Photo of kennylopez
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is not for drinking by the pint. Good lord. Nose, Taste, and Feel: Molasses is clear, maple syrup, diacetyl, crazy dark fruits in the nose, creamy, rum-cake, alcohol, butter . . . bourbon, vanilla, chewy. This is crazy, crazy good. I would prefer a 5 ounce pour, though, especially at 12% . . . but if i gotta drink the whole bomber, I gotta drink the whole bomber.

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Photo of Jjski
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A sought after "whale" for me, obtained through a transaction involving an offshore bank which delivered a briefcase full of cash in $1 dollar bills.

It was consumed in my remote adirondack outpost, while the wood stove provided sufficient warmth to allow me to don a thin layer of thermal underwear

Presumably cellared properly by the previous owner in the Witness Protection Program

A- dark amber, two finger head. Particulate matter, which seems a bit soon for this vintage

S-alcohol, orange rind, figs, malty sticky sweetness

T-bourbon sweet malty, touch of leather , a candied orange wedge in her clenched teeth. Whip in hand.

M- smooth, evervescent, small burning on my palate as she forces me submit.

O- very good, but wish it was more. I probably missed the maple barrel taste and the brew has not reached historic status yet. Perhaps I should have waited, but as the Better Half's whip is not so gently applied to my m cerebral cortex, I give in. I had a well aged Curmudgeon that was probably equally good. Sometimes the search for a whale ends quietly.

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really did not expect to see the color I did. For some reason, I expected a dark opaque stout-like color. This has a beautiful deep amber color with about a a finger of somewhat sticky white head. It is rather transparent as well. Smells strong of bourbon, maple, vanilla and caramel. Some molasses is detected in the nose. Upon tasting, I was really surprised at how sweet it is. Bourbon seems to dominate along with vanilla and maple. Hotness from the alcohol is noticeable. The body is moderate and it is lightly carbonated. I feel it could be a little heavier. Overall, this was very good. You really can't go wrong with anything by Founder's that is barrel aged. The sweetness may become tiring after a while. I wonder if this might be better bottled in a 12 oz. I'm glad I got to try it and I was pleasantly surprised.

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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 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 ConorThomas
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 750mL bottle of this at Lexington Beerworks in Lexington, KY. Poured into a snifter.

A- Dark amber with only slight hazing. Creamy head stays short.

S- In my opinion, the smell is the best part of this beer. Big molasses and maple, as well as sweet vanilla, sugar, and maybe slight caramel. Alcohol is slightly present as well.

T- Mostly sweet maple and molasses. There are a full array of flavors to compliment, most of which mirror those in the smell, making it quite full.

M- Full mouthfeel as well. Warming alcohol with maybe only a slight harsh tint.

O- Very delicious and worth a try, but it may be worth sharing with a few since it's a little pricey.

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Photo of sculls65
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy deep amber with creamy head that shrunk to a small cloud in the center of my tulip glass. Nose picks up bourbon, maple, all those toffee candied malts and alcohol ..and some dank wet fruit or peat or leather. The taste is sweet and smooth. Dominated by malts and sweet maple, the bourbon warmth adds a nice touch. Glad i got to try it, but sad its gone.

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Photo of travMI13
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 750 mL bottle served into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a hazy orangeish, reddish, brown tone with a small off-white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a decent amount of lacing.

S: The nose reminds me a lot of fresh raisin bread. I'm getting bread and raisins with hints if cinnamon, maple, and booze.

T: Strong maple flavor up front. Very sweet. Getting some of the breadiness from the nose along with a lot of spices. The booze is incredibly well-hidden. This is a challenge to describe accurately. My best analogy is coffee cake soaked in BLiS maple syrup, and I think that's exactly what it is supposed to be. Sublime.

M: The sweetness and stickiness linger for quite a while. The mouthfeel is very syrupy, even though it's not very thick for an olde ale. I almost wish it was a bit heavier, but that's a very minor complaint.

O: This beer is absolutely outstanding. I'm enjoying it immensely. The sweetness and the spiciness might not be for everyone, but this is right up my ally. Just another well-executed barrel-aged beer from Founders. The Founders barrel-aging program just might be the best in the business, and this one is just another feather in their cap.

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Photo of ChiPool
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Founder's snifter. Can't find a bottle date, but purchased back in February: consumed & reviewed 12/23/12.

I'm so accustomed to BA stouts, I forgot this was an old ale. I realized this upon the pour, as it is a medium amber color, with moderate carbonation & about a quarter-inch of cream colored head. It's cloudy: plenty of floaties present. The nose gives you no doubt about the bourbon presence: boozy, a touch of honey there as well. the booze is well blended on the palate, though: very little booziness there for a big boy like this. As this opens up, the molasses make itself more prominent. The bourbon & molasses pair well: not much there in bitterness at all. The mouthfeel is superb: just right. It gains a bit of density as it warms, but nicely balanced overall.

Nice change of pace for a BA option (old ale as opposed to a stout). My only complaint is that it is a touch heavy on the molasses. Make sure to have a friend when you open this...or hunker down!

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Photo of fvernon
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter.

This brew's carbonation is just wonderful, you get a nice ecru off white foam that laces the glass throughout. This has a nice auburn brownish hue that is consistent throughout.

I get sweet malts and caramel in the first whiff and then some slight bourbon with coffee tones.

Boy oh boy, this beer is just AWESOME! I get a nice sweetness from the malts and chocolate and caramel, coffee, espresso, and frosting. It has a medium body,and is sweet throughout, but most defiantly drinkable and the alcohol is well masked as ALWAYS founders are masters at balancing beers PERFECTLY. IF YOU CAN FIND THIS BUY ONE!

Very nice sweet, malty brew done by the masters at Founders.


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Photo of BelgianBeerHog26
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of SDDanC
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

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Photo of Optifron
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed 11/18/2012 on-tap during Founders day at Crane Alley in Urbana, IL

Appearance: Mid-red brown. Thin head sticks around. Bit hazy.

Aroma: Big vanilla hit. Wood. Malty sweetness.

Taste: Big upfront sweetness (more than say, Backwoods Bastard), including a small vanilla hit. Some wood and hop bitterness to finish.

Mouthfeel: Very, very velvety. Slight carbonation. Sweet, salivating.

Overall: Fantastic. Leaves some alcohol warmth. Great vanilla flavors. Would be hard to drink a ton of it.

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Photo of zep9865
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed with aasher on 2/28. Poured into aecht schlenferla snifter. Pours a beatiful mahogany with a slight ring of white foam head. If you tilt the glass you can see this beer's wonderful residual sugar

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, raisins dates, and ahhh maple syrup. Alcohol appears to be well masked.

Vanilla and bourbon are sharp, followed by lingering maple syrup and some booze. Lots of raisins and a little bit of nut as well.

Nice balance of maple syrup and bourbon without an overly boozy finish.

What a treat. Didn't think that goose could be competed with in the bourbon beer category.

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Photo of vgarneth
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this epic brew by Founders with my BA buddy, y2korey, smoking on a nice Rocky Patel Java Mint cigar as time begins to spring forward here on the East Coast, 2012. Beautiful deep, amber color with an air of maple syrup on the nose. As I take the first sip, my taste buds are overwhelmed with molasses and full on flavor. Excellent body and delightful finish!

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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 GameChicken
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of mz3frs
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Med caramel with a thin head
N:Aroma is mostly of oak, a bit of alcohol
T:Vanilla, bourbon are the primary flavors I get. The maple comes through as it warms. A little boozy. Malt gets lost in the oak.
M: Full bodied, low cabonation
O: An enjoyable beer!

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Photo of chromemittenman
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this in bottles as well and on tap at Founders and at a bar 3/18/12.

The color is deceiving to me, I expected darker...however, the flavor waiting in the glass is out of this world.

The smell...it is apparent immediately that the famed Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup process was used.

Boozy...Yes please...it doesn't hide the fact it is aged in Bourbon barrels.

When I got it poured, I ordered a small 4 oz glass of another beer to let this warm, the warmer it got, the more incredible it became.

I hate to say it, but I would have to say this beer is neck and neck with CBS, if not better IMO.

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Photo of Efeswasmy1st
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From friend Jeff from Bodega Brew Pub. Let it warm a bit. Poured into goblet. Aroma is banana, bourbon, malt. Appearance is medium amber with little head. Taste is banana, clove, anise, malt. Very tasty. Palate is easy, sweet, and long. Find a bottle, and a few friends and enjoy!

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Photo of genuinedisciple
4.88/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of Hoppedup616
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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