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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half - Founders Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

949 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 949
Reviews: 231
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 414
Gots: 371 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 01-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 949 | Reviews: 231
Photo of mdaschaf
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of corby112
3.53/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at The Pour House in Westmont, NJ.

Pours a deep, dark burnt orange color with tangerine edges and a two finger, frothy yellowish-beige head that very slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet boozy aroma with a pretty strong barrel presence.  Lots of earthy oak, maple and bourbon along with some leathery malts, toffee and hazelnut. Oak is strongest element which is surprising.  As it warns, the molasses character comes out and meshes nicely with the maple.  Still, the nose is surprisingly a bit bland with too strong of an oak presence for my liking.

Medium bodied with lots of boozy heat and a strong barrel presence.  Dominant dry oak flavor with booze and sweet maple notes.  Underneath, there is some more booze and leathery malt.  Sweetness kicks in as it warns with hints of toffee, caramel and hazelnut. Dry and spicy with subtle molasses.  Still pretty hot however and a bit harsh.  6oz is plenty.  

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.57/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another wonderful beer from Founders. I'm really digging the large format bottle special releases- all of them have been welcome additions so far. This one is no exception. Pours a dark amber with a solid head for the abv and style. The head sticks around for the duration of the beer. Lovely bourbon aromas to start, with vanilla, a bit of spicy oak, and a nice punch from the residual alcohol. Some Maple develops at the end. The taste is even better, with very well integrated flavors of chocolate, vanilla, maple, oak, Bourbon, and molasses notes. On the sweet side, but it all works very well. Silky in the mouth, and a pleasurable experience all around. A very tasty beer indeed.

Photo of ShanePB
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle shared by a friend
Served into a chalice glass

A: Mahogany copper body certainly on the lighter side of things. Admittedly, this isn't as dark as I was expecting for some reason. A thin off-white head forms and eventually settles out into a foamy ring. Nice patches of lacing on the walls, too.

S: Extremely sweet malts and maple syrup are first to hit the nose. Bourbon and oak wood come through, along with some hints of vanilla and toffee. Wow does that smell enticing and very rich.

T: Whoa, incredibly sweet almost to the point of being too cloying. But it's good. Sweet maple syrup dominates the flavor profile from the beginning to end. The bourbon does come through on the back end along with the barrel, but I still think it's swallowed by the maple. A bit of sweet toffee and caramel, but those are simply afterthoughts.

M: Nicely carbonated, not overdone giving this a very full mouth feel. It tastes like it's going to be very syrupy but the lively carbonation breaks it up, and keeps it from being sticky.

Talk about a sipping beer. This is certainly one to sit and savor. The overall sweetness may be a bit too much for some but the flavors it gives off are really wonderful. Too sweet? It's debatable, perhaps but a very nice drink to be sure.

Photo of smakawhat
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter glass. Let's see how Kaiser here goes from his on tap version back in the day.

Nothing like Kaiser on tap. An absolutely gorgeous ruby crystal clear shimmering body, faint tan head falls leaving a whispering top and a tan collar. Spotted leopard like lacing, and faint legs of sheets. This body color is just like a gem it's beautiful.

Bouquet is mellow, soft, slight icing sugar, barleywine rich without the boozey character, mellow hops, subtle beef jerky, caramel, and faint maple syrup. I don't get the sense something really sweet is coming. This is like a real nice subdued and rich barleywine on the nose with a unique profile.

Taste bring a solid palate, bringing the nose notes nicely. Nothing overbearingly sweet, maple sugar comes in slowly, finish highlights this wonderfully. The bottle truly does manage the notion, it tastes like pancakes, pat of butter and hint of maple syrup. No sense of hot heat at all, not even warming in the stomach.

Overall, I am just shocked at how different this is in appearance and taste compared to Kaiser, it's not even the same thing, and out of the bottle it's real impressive. I was tempted to just trade this, but I am really glad I tried it. It's just great. Founders = magic in a barrel.

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of rab53
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Zaphog
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of KAF
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of Kelp
3.5/5  rDev -18.8%

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

On tap at Blue Dog in Chalfont, during their wealth of riches event.

The beer pours a dark golden amber color with good head retention and lacing. Those comes across as sweet and strong, as I pick up vanilla, cherry cough drop, some light maple and a hint of hazelnut. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but is really dominated by the cherry cough drop and vanilla. The high abv. is definitely noticeable in this beer, though the beer is not at all hot or heavy on the palate. Mouthfeel is fairly full, and the beer has a long, rich, sweet finish.

While I thought this a pretty good beer, it was just a bit too sweet and boozy for me. I was able to try this side by side with frangelic mountain, and preferred that beer to this one.

Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of sendbeer
3.75/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Lare453
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -30.4%

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.72/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/15/12
*From notes

-- Consumed side by side with a 2010 Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale --

A: A straight pour down the center of the glass yields a meager .25 finger white and bubbly head. Pink grapefruit-crimson in hue. Decent retention, collar and lacing.

S: Sweet. Quite sweet, in fact. Heavy gobs of maple are right there, and the bourbon fills in where the sap does not.

T: It's extremely sweet right out of the gates, and it never lets up. Unlike CBS, the base beer here just doesn't have the strength to stand up to the maple bourbon barrels, which overwhelm all other aspects of the brew. Sure there's more control here then say Kuhnhenn's BB 4D, but CBH just doesn't present the depth and concentration of flavor. The mid dries out a slight bit, though as it does the booze really wallops the palate. The back is jam packed with maple syrup, toasted coconut and vanilla. For as tasty as this is, the beer simply lacks the layers of flavor I've come to expect out of Founders barrel aged brews.

M: Unlike most of Founders offerings, the balance in the mouth is off. It takes a lot of swishing and chewing to get that frothy feel I so enjoy about good beer. It's a bit oily and simply undercarbed for my liking.

O: Put this on the shelf year-round and watch the rDev fall. I think that (yet again) the hype train has gotten a moderate hold of a reasonably good beer. This lacks key components of the best in-style, and the maple bourbon barrels overwhelm the delicate nuances of what an Old Ale should be.

I've put my other bottle in the cellar, hoping that a bit of age will solve some of these issues. But when they're rudimentary like this, I doubt the foundation will really change that much.

All in all a good (not great) beer, though it's certainly the weakest entry in Founders Backstage series to date.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to BBP for this bottle. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Medium ruby/brown with a big glow around the edges. One finger of bubbly cream-coloured head formed and quickly receded to a few large bubbles around the edges of the glass. Decent lacing.

S - Sweet caramel, raisins, bourbon, vanilla, toffee. Not specifically getting any maple syrup but there is a big overall sweetness. Very complex.

T - A big hit of bourbon up front with vanilla and oak flavours. The barrel aging characteristics definitely dominate the base beer flavours but hey are still present - contributing some toffee, brown sugar, dark caramel and raisin flavours. The alcohol is noticeable but not distracting. The maple syrup shows up in the finish, adding a nice sweetness.

M - Medium to full body, creamy. So smooth and silky. Light carbonation.

O - An excellent beer. Was really happy that I got chance to try this one.

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 949 ratings.