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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BA SCORE
95
world-class

231 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 231
Hads: 957
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 429
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 Jwale73
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%
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. (661 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper tinted orange color, cloudy, spotty bubbles. Nice first whiff brings a blend of vanilla sugar, toffee, light maple syrup. Taste expands on nose with burnt brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, toasted nuts, light maple syrup, oak. Not as hefty or creamy as hoped, medium bodied, smooth, some lingering heat. Solid flavorful brew from Founders. (351 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 sweemzander
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a candy apple red hue. Produced a nice cap of tan froth. Decent retention. Good lacing. Tons of sediment floaties unfortunately.

(S)- A nice mellow-like rich maple, caramel, toffee, and fig profile. Very subtle dry oak.

(T)- Right off the bat, the rich maple, vanilla, and gingerbread-like malt flavors are really nice. Underneath that is the caramel/toffee/fig finish.

(M)- A nice smooth carbonation level. A really nice balance too. Too bad all the sediment showed up though. . . it is causing it to get really chewy and grainy; tons of bitterness as it warms. Well hidden ABV and a balanced richness.

(D)- Despite the sediment really throwing off the mouthfeel and some aspects of the taste and appearance, this is really quite nice. The maple really enhances this and created a nice twist from the usual Curmudgeon ale. (875 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a crystal clear deep amber color with a one finger head of off white foam. The head fades rather fast leaving a great level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass. The thick body of the brew is foreshadowed by swirling the brew in the glass, as one can see thick fingers of liquid clinging to the sides with them very slowly settling back to the bottom of the snifter.

Smell – A big caramel aroma is present in the nose with other sweet smells of vanilla and toffee. Some maple syrup and darker fruits aromas are present as well, upping the sweetness of the brews aroma. Along with the big sugary sweet smells comes along plenty of “hot” boozy smells with a strong bourbon and woody smell.

Taste – The taste begins just as the nose would have suggested; with a big sweet caramel flavor. Right from start there is also a maple syrup flavor as well as some bready tastes. Some darker fruit flavors of raisin and plum with some other roasted malt taste also quickly come to the tongue with the mix of flavors largely acting as a base for the brew. As the flavor advances from the initial, it gains a bit of butterinesss with the caramel transitioning to a toffee flavor to some extent. Boozy flavors of a rum like nature start coming to the tongue more toward the middle of the taste, starting out lighter, but by the end of the taste growing rather strong. Other flavors of a more woody and oaky nature really pick it up toward the end of the taste, and with a surge of the maple syrup and a light bourbon flavor joining the rum, one is left with a very warming and rather sweet flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thicker and sticky with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both are very nice for the sugary sweet (caramel, toffee, maple syrup) and boozy flavor of the brew and make for a very nice slow sipper.

Overall – A robustly sweet and very tasty beer indeed. Tons of sugary tastes with a moderate dose of booze present as well, but yet still managing to maintain a decent balance for the style. (2,126 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 maximum12
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Harder to track down than Bigfoot (the real one, not the beer), but for molasses? And maple liquor barrels? I'll track. 750 ML bomber split with my wife after our fantasty baseball draft. Hillbilly Hogs for the win. And no Mauer this year.

Pour is dark red flirting with orange highlights, peppered with a 1/4 cup of suspended sediment all through the beer column. Bald man's ring on top. Smell is just heavenly. Molasses, sweet malts, deep maple. Warm alcohol. Yes.

Curmudgeon's Better Half is what one has come to expect from Founders: excellence in barreling. The maple is exquisite, coming through as a sweentess riding the malts & as a gentle alcohol burn in the back of the throat (barrel, I'm guessing). Huge caramel/toffee wades into the fray. Vanilla, brown sugar increase the cavity index significantly. Alcohol is present & warming. Wildly smooth, & stupidly easy to drink.

We should have paired this up with an original Curmudgeon's to compare-&-contrast, but hey, such is life. This is top-shelf stuff, & the reason that I'll buy anything Founders puts in a barrel. Because it almost always comes out excellent, like this beer. Borderline elite. (1,164 characters)

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

Thanks to TATURBO for sharing this bottle! Thanks Chris!

reviewed from notes taken on 2/24/12.

poured into snifter.

Appearance: Amber / copper colored beer with a small tan head that drops to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Maple, caramel, and candied sugar. The smell of a big malty profile in this beer. It smells really sweet too.

Taste: its really sweet upfront. Caramel, maple sugar, candied sugar, toffee, and butterscotch. The beer has a mildly astrigent finish with a really mild booziness that is warming more than anything.

Mouthfeel: full bodied beer with low carbonation. Syrupy and its a sipper beer for sure.

Overall: This Old Ale is really big and really sweet. Big maple notes from the barrel aging. Share this bottle don't try and drink the 750 bottle all by yourself it would be a tough task. I would have like to see more smoke notes and other flavors that were lost from the base beer. It would have given a nice balance to the beer. had this beer on draft at Founders a long time ago when it was called Kaiser Curmudgeon; really think that I enjoyed it more that day than from the bottle. Still a good beer by Founders. (1,147 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle picked up locally. pretty sure this was billed as Kaiser Curmudgeon at one point in time. i had that on tap at rattle n hum at a founder's event and was blown away...here's hoping this is it.

a - filled my cbs snifter. poured a ruby chestnut that was semi-transparent. nice frothy thick head that left big streaks of lacing on my swirled glass.

s - strong sweet maple syrup. brown sugar to the max. definitely has that same old curmudgeon crossed with backwoods that i picked up in the draft version, but way more maple. sweet potpouri.

t - wonderful sweet caramel brown sugar. the barrel and maple syrup really take the old ale on a wild ride. this is the treatment that was needed for this beer. really well blended. if anything, a bit sweet, but super palatable. dare i say that this might be better than BB4D.

m - extremely smooth and easy to drink for the intense booze and sweetness that you'd expect.

o - overall, this is amazing. founders does it again. this was the sleeper as kaiser curmudgeon and a treat. i had heard black biscuit would be next, but super pumped for this one. glad it fell a bit under the radar for these releases...at least wasn't as crazy as CBS. a winner and a half. fantastic brew. as world class as BB4D...and the only old ale that should be mentioned in the same breathe. (1,318 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours deep, clear amber with a big creamy beige head that leaves a solid bubbly cap on top. Really good lacing as well, especially for a barrel-aged beer.

Aroma is big on the bourbon up front with lots of vanilla and oak. The caramel and toffee of the underlying beer are still noticeable as well as some booze-soaked dark fruits.

The taste is super sweet but has a spicy kick up front from some combination of oak and maybe hops. The backbone is full of vanilla, caramel malts, maple syrup and treacle. The finish has an interesting bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth with soft carbonation and really sticky on the palate with the heavy sweetness lingering after each sip.

As usual, Founders has made a fantastic barrel-aged beer. It's certainly sweet but the barrel enhances the underlying beer. Fantastic stuff. (837 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a ton to Chico1985 for sharing, reviewed from notes.

A- Pours out amber with a light tan head. Nice creamy texture and size with good retention. Tons of thick lace all over the glass.

S- Bourbon forward with notes of vanilla, oak barrel and whiskey. Backed up by caramel, maple, dark fruit and brown sugar.

T- Maple sweets and bourbon forward. Nice maple syrup notes, whiskey, oak, raisin, dark fruit, alcohol and caramel.

MF- Silky and oily thick body with moderate carbonation. Feels slick and warm with a slight bitterness.

Maple forward, more so than CBS with a great old ale and bourbon presence. Really enjoy the interplay between those elements. (664 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like maple and molasses and tons of oak and toasted coconut, with some vanilla and earthy roasted barley and copper hops and honey.
T: It tasted like maple and vanilla and toasted coconut and oak, with some molasses and copper hops and roasted barley and honey. It had a clean and sweet and smooth aftertaste.
M: It was very thick and viscous with some carbonation. Nice full and slick body.
D: This was a delicious old ale with great maple bourbon barrel character. I loved the scent and taste, and the body was excellent. It had a lasting but mellow finish, so it was easy to drink but worth sipping. It would likely age a long tome, but it doesn't need it since it's great fresh. Recommended, if you could find it. (797 characters)

Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
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. (779 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.84/5  rDev +12%
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. (1,165 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
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! (553 characters)

Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lot of maple in this beer. Take CBS, drop the stout smoothness, add Old Ale heartiness and, surprisingly, ratchet up the maple to make this incredible beer. (159 characters)

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

Pours a deep toasted khaki color with ruby highlights. The beige head is thin and wispy. Looks a bit lifeless.

The aroma is quite malty and bready. Honey sweetness and candied fruit hit the nose first. Rich caramel notes with slight hints of toffee. Light bourbon and vanilla as well.

The taste is big on caramel and vanilla. Honey and candied fruit bring additional sweetness. Not a lot of dark fruit flavors. I get a lot of Dolche de Leche flavors with a light bourbon note, as if you added a little bit of bourbon to a vanilla milk shake. There seems to be a slight berry sweetness in the end. Not much from the maple but it does seem to add a layer to the velvty smooth caramel and vanilla. Quite malty overall.

Moderate feel with some prickly carbonation. Very smooth body. Definitely sweet on the palate but not cloying; it does finish with some stickiness. ABV seems well hidden.

An enjoyable old ale. Quite sweet with the caramel and vanilla notes. Doesn't have those oxidized dark fruit notes that most old ales seem to have. (1,038 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A whiskey colored body with lots of sediment stirring about. The head is tan and creamy with some nice sticky lacing.

Great nose of vanilla bean, oak, whiskey and caramelized sugars. Some maple syrup also.

Oh wow, the taste is so well blended. So much going on, but it is so mellow at the same time. Like it has been aged. Syrupy sugars, maple, dry oak, vanilla, warm whiskey and so on. So very complex, but not hot and in your face. Just awesome.

The body is actually quite light feeling. Very dry as well. For the flavor coming out you would think this would be a big heavy beer, but it is not.

I might actually like this better than CBS. It's like a better version of Backwoods Bastard if you can imagine. Great overall beer and I hope to have it again some day. (769 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
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. (827 characters)

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a hazy dark purplish brown hue with a very slowly settling tan head. Bubbles rise through the beer like Neo dodging bullets in The Matrix. The liquid flows slowly but the bubbles flow even slower.

S: Smells sweet with caramel malt and red grapes with some alcohol twinge that favors the dark intricacies of bourbon or even cognac. Hints of potpourri and bright, sweet spiciness linger lightly on the nose; it’s curious, indeed.

T/M: Feel is very thick in the mouth; the bubbles didn’t lie. Caramel sweetness, molasses and alcohol twinge approach at first leading towards biscuit maltiness and touches of more red grape on the finish. Carbonation feels sharp at first but fades quickly.

This is a surprisingly thick, gracefully smooth, and elegantly complex beer. Would I put it on my pancakes? Probably. But then again, would I put any beer on my pancakes? Probably. Try this one if you have the chance, with or without pancakes.

TheBeerAlmanac.com (996 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 scottfrie
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
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)! (904 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 Reagan1984
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
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. (764 characters)

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.73/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark honey with hues of red. There is very little head, but there is a solid amount of lacing left on the glass as it drinks.

S: The nose is malt, seaweed, honey, maple syrup. Smells like a solid old ale with a bit more sweetness.

T: It starts out with a burst of sweet and seaweed, but the awkwardness clears quickly and I get a lot of honey and maple syrup. There is a big boozy not in there as well, and it makes it's presence more evident in the finish.

M: Full bodied beer. It's think, coating, and syrupy This beer destroys the palate on contact, and lingers well past the final sip.

O: This beer is sweet and hot. It's ok, but it's not my favorite. I'd drink this beer again, but I won;t seek it out in the future. (736 characters)

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