Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Rebranded as Curmudgeon's Better Half.

Added by TCgoalie on 07-10-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 124
Photo of cardsfan
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at founders day. Keg dated 20?? (not kidding)

Great appearance for an old ale. A Little lighter than I thought but very thick and syrupy. Smell is huge bourbon with a little of the Carmel coming through. Taste is amazing...follows the nose with the bourbon first and the carnal again right behind. Can taste the "old" flavor as well. Very boozy for being at least 2-3 years old. Mouthful is where this feel short. Good but not as thick as the look appeared. Overall a great beer and glad I finally got to try it. Wish they would bring this out again!

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Photo of Auracom
4.41/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to have a shot at this one. 2010 keg tapped at Kelleher's for the Barrel Aged event on February 16th, 2013. 12 oz. served in a goblet.

A - Extremely murky, toffee-brown color. Looks like a slightly thicker Bruery anniversary release, akin to Cuir or Coton. Marginal retention or lacing.

S - Damn goblets mute everything. Caramelized sugar, allspice, and honey cake.

T - Holy caramel batman. This exudes Werther's originals. Huge molasses and maple chips. Underlying oak and further toffee through the backend. Really whoops regular Curmudgeon's ass.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, lightly-dry barrel finish.

D - I've still not come across a chance to try Curmudgeon's Better Half, but I imagine that Founders stayed true to the original recipe. If so, it's as east a recommendation as this is. I doubt I'll try it again, and that's a bit depressing.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a keg of 2011, tasted in April 2012.

Half a finger of offwhite head, and ahazy medium brown body. Decent lace.

Nose drips with malt, bourbon, and a trace of maple syrup.

Magnificent bourbon taste with maple richness. The base is so sweet, it's the booziness and the tang of the maple that offer balance, but it's still quite sweet and rich. The only bitterness is maple wood. Maple syrup finish works well while still being super rich.

Mouthfeel is big and thick, like pancakes.

Really pretty great, but *very* sweet and rich.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on-tap, duckworths park road

being rebranded as "Curmudgeon's Better Half" - old ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels

appearance: 8oz pour in a small chalice - pretty light-bodied, hazy golden in color with a light beige lace

smell: richer than trump - bourbon, maple, vanilla, syrup, booze, dark fruit

taste: similar to CBS - the barrel effects are just silly - rich maple syrup, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, wood, rich a fine dessert wine, seems a little gluttonous to drink this - just wait for the hype on this bottle release...

mouthfeel: rich and full bodied, perfect start to the day

overall: great

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Photo of siege06nd
3.94/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed at Churchkey on 6/30/2011. Very excited to try this one. Served in a snifter...

A: A beautiful amber color. I was surprised at how clear this beer is, virtually crystal clear. Absolutely zero head from the pour. Beautiful color, a little disappointed with the lack of head and retention. Then again, this is a booze bomb so that is probably by design.

S: Heck yes. Waves of vanilla and bourbon from the barrel aging with just a hint of brown sugar and dark fruit. As it warms, I detected raisin and even some banana. Smells great.

T: Man this is a thick brew. Heavy on the bourbon and maple syrup. Literally burned a touch on its way down the gullet. A very complex flavor profile with a lot of vanilla, dark fruit, and spice. Pretty boozy. Good.

M: Syrupy and sticky. Perhaps a bit too much. This beer is dessert.

O: It's not quite the revelation I thought it would be, but Kaiser Curmudgeon is a good beer. It's overly boozy and I'm not sure the base beer stands up to the barrel aging as well as it could, but I still recommend seeking this one out.

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Photo of jbuddle
3.54/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap into wine glass

A - muddy ruby color with off white heads that dissipates into a ring. Not bad looking but nothing special

S - vanilla, sugary sweet malt, maple is strong, and lots of booze including some heavy bourbon

T - follows the smell with tons of maple, vanilla, and bourbon. There is tons of complexity in there but unfortunately its all behind a thick veil of very hot alcohol. Perhaps this keg was really fresh? I can't imagine how good this would be with a year or two on it but right now the alcohol dominates.

M - solid carbonation and a nice slick feel, not too heavy.

O - A solid and interesting beer that needs some age in my opinion. I can tell it has layers of complexity but what I drank was distractingly hot.

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Photo of rhong187
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served on tap at the Blue Dog (4oz pour, notes taken from Philly beer week... got a lot of catching up to do)

A - light tannish brown, miniscule amount of head

S - The bourbon hits you right away, leading to a bit of sweetness/vanilla/maple...

T - The initial sip blasts you with straight bourbon, with oak and toffee following through.. the order of the smell is identical to the taste..

M - medium bodied, with a low amount of carbonation. couldn't imagine this beer getting any better and I really wish they served in bigger servings..

Another fantastic beer offered by Founders, and just like the Cashew Mountain Brown, it leaves you wanting more. Hope they can find a way to bottle this one permantently.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.89/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From Duckworths in Charlotte

Glowing orange, brownish body with a tan head on top

Smells like vanilla, caramel, hints of oak. Smells a bit boozy.

Wow, more vanilla and oak notes in the taste lay across an incredible caramel backbone. Incredibly smooth finish. A little booze but it only adds to the complexity. As the beer warms a ton of maple flavor shines through. Simply amazing.

Smooth medium bodied, low carbonation, right on.

Wow am I glad I made the trip for this beer. The barrel takes a slightly above average beer and makes it a fantastic one. I'm impressed how smooth this one is. I hope this lands in bottles soon.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap in asheville and reviewed from notes.

caramel colored pour with a light head of off white that caps it off rather nicely. Settling down it left a little bit of a light sticky lace along the sides. Aroma was the best I have ever come across. Rich toffee and butterscotch, tons of sweet nectar notes. Candy in all its glory. Perfectly aged with a smooth, perfect profile of vanilla, toffee, and rich butterscotch that will not let up. Rich bourbon flavor just rolls across the palate with a smoothness unlike anything I have run across before. Rich vanilla and boozy notes combine to form a perfect balance

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Photo of KAP1356
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. On tap at Capone's during the Founders Philly Beer Week event. Poured into a mini (5 oz.) sampler glass...

A - Presented a clear amber-copper color. Really think off white head receded to a collar of the same color. Nice lacing.

S - Very sweet on the nose. Lots of maple syrup, lots of bourbon, brown sugar, some caramel and a little vanilla. Some malt in there and some nice oak notes as well.

T - Damn! VERY sweet flavors all over the place. Maple syrup and bourbon sweetness dominates the prifile with some carmale and toffee in there as well. Alcohol heat sure is present as is the maple barrel aging component. Very intriguing beer and one of the sweeter I have had.

M - Because of the sweetness and thew alcohol heat, this takes a bit of a hit. Thick and chewey, full bodied beer. As this warms, my mouthn really started to dry out.

O - Was super psyeched to try this, and although I liked it, I didn't find myself wanting more and more. Just too sweet. Although, Founders once again proved that they are, IMHO, the absolute best barrel agers in the business.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the time of this review the #13 Old Ale on the beeradvocate best of list. Served on draft at Churchkey in a snifter, 8 ounce pour I believe.

Beer is clear and amber / coppery looking, with a thin head of small bubbles, lots of lacing, low carbonation. Looks good.

Aroma is strong, lots of syrup, lots of bourbon, mild wood, some malt. The aroma is super strong, very sweet in the nose.

Beer is about as sweet as a beer can get and still be good, this one challenges my feelings on how sweet a beer can get. Seriously rough at times. There is a lot of bourbon on the palate too, beer is thin up front from the alcohol, the overall beer is quite good, very malty, very syrupy very strong, pretty hot, interesting beer. The oak and the maple come through a lot. Hmmmm...I think it is probably too hot and too thin with the alcohol on the front to give this an overall amazing score. Founders knows their way around a barrel though, another great maple syrup barrel aged beer.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

poured on tap into a snifter glass at Churckey DC.

A very soupy looking off brown light head from the pour. Cherry lambic kriek looking body, nice dark burgundy and clear but dark enough hard to see through. Quite nice.

Very large distinct vanilla smell, brown sugar, and a mild caramel, very sweet smelling on the nose.

Taste is at first a giant blast of icing sugar and cake frosting. Dense malt body, but a real nice light texture on the palate in feel. Love the body on this brew.

Overall though this is just way too sweet for my tastes, but it is easily drinkable at a very high abv.

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Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at armaby abbey. Got the last of the keg.

A - poured into a snifter a crystal clear hazelnut pour with a small half finger head that slowly fades to leave a nice halo and leggy side lacing.

S - big abv with some sweet earthy notes and light malts. Smells more like a scotch than a beer.

T - kinda like the nose with a warming alcohol qualities. Some more raisin like fruits. Very nice flavors.

M - low carbon makes this somewhat syrupy.

O - Overall I like this beer. Not as good as the bruery cuir but a very tasty old ale.

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Photo of CraftAleRookie
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Tulip Glass- on tap at the Blue Dog Tavern (this was supposed to be a 4 oz pour, but I got lucky and was served a 10 oz tulip!)

Deep deep amber with a bit of an orange-ish hue; creamy white one finger head with good retention. Lacing was excellent, sticky all over the glass. The aroma is very nice- malty maple toffee molasses, all complemented by notes of sweetness.

Taste was full- malts, dried fruits, and a noticeable edge of alcohol. Full body and heavy, thick texture. Chewy! (even though I'm not a big fan of that word in ratings, but it fits here.)

This is a good, drinkable old ale- albeit on the heavy side, it's a sipper that I'd rather have in cooler to colder weather.

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Photo of mizzouguy
4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at a beer festival. By far the most impressive beer in attendance. Pours agreat deep copper. The nose is sweet and maple with a touch of bourbon. Taste follows the nose but not over powering with the sweetness. The maple bourbon just makes the taste more complex. A little bit of boost heat in a pleasant way. Mouthful coats and is just so nice. Overall so good.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Capone’s (Norristown, PA) on 6/9/11. Served in a 5 oz snifter.

Pours a deep, yet clear, coppery ruby, with a thin covering of bright-white head. This maintains some richness, leaving back a lighter looking cascade of sudsy lace. The aroma smells strongly of the maple, with additional notes of vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, bourbon, and alcohol all adding to the sweetness of the nose here. A touch of fruitiness seems to come out here as well but this is mostly sweet, warm, and sticky overall.

The taste pretty much mirrors the nose but seems a bit more refined, with notes of maple, vanilla, caramel, cocoa, and fruity citrus giving away to a burnt bourbon burn. There’s just a lot of sugars here, with vanilla and caramel, and then roast along the back really standing out. The finish starts out dry, warm, and a bit burnt, but then quickly gives way to a good bit of lingering sugars. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a thick and chewy feel. The sweetness and spice from the alcohol really starts to take effect as this warms, leaving the mouth parched with dryness from the barrel and ABV.

Well this was definitely a beast of beer and while I thought that the extreme sweetness of the base clashed a bit with that of the maple flavor (I think I prefer their selections where something a bit more burnt and roasted are used), this still showed enough complexity and power to make this sample enjoyable. This 5 oz serving was more than enough though, as any more might have eventually become a bit too cloying for me.

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Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Armsby Abbey

Light creamy head with sticky lacing, hazy reddish ruby orange color.

Nose tons of bourbon, oak, sweet malts, little maple, caramel, touch of toffee, sweet reddish malts, bott of booze, candy

Taste starts with sweet candy, syrupy, maple, molasses, touch of candi sugar, light fruit touch of brandy soaked raisins, plum, subtle cinnamon and nutty malts, reddish sweet malts, then plenty of bourbon. Thee bourbon and oak start off hidden a bit from the sweetness and warming booze, then explode as it warms and settles in my mouth. Touch more maple on the finish, with more candy, reddish syrupy malts, bourbon, still a bit sweet and sticky on the mouth.

Thicker mouth syrupy, some warming booze, decent carb.

Overall awesome, great flavors from the malty beer under to start, then great bourbon, oak, and maple on top, a bit of booze is held in check from the sweet and bourbon balance but it does get way too sweet, not too bad at first, but trying to finish the entire 8oz or so pour is very hard as it gets so sweet.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at Blue Dog,

Kaiser Curmudgeon comes looking lighter than your average Old Ale. The color is a mix of beige orange with a small amount of bronze thrown in. A nice amount of foam forming a cap up top with a ivory color to it. Nice stickies for a 11% BA beer. Smell is all barrel once again. Sweet vanilla and maple with bourbon under all of that. A insane amount of malt sweetness as well from the base. I can sniff some alcohol in here as well. Hops are not in the picture. The barrel aging here has completely over run the base beer. I can't stand crumudgeon, but this, this right here makes it work. Kaiser is an insanely rich sweet beer with all barrel influence, vanilla and maple mixing in with some english malts, toffee, bourbon and of course regular crumudgeon. Feel is quite slick and it goes down easy enough with a slight burn. it's carbed up plenty without being bitey on the tounge. Overall, this is great beer and this is one case where the barrels made a shitty beer IMO into a gem. Very drinkable, but I would not want more than 10oz's of this.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at bluedog.

A- comes over with a nice finger high semi dense cap of tan head that does hold for a bit then settles to a solid ring and some good cascading lace on the glass. Slightly hazy copper amber in color with a very nice glow when held to light.

S- maple syrup and bourbon up front with a slightly fruity and sweet malty background. Rather subdued really.

T- opens up with a great maple and bourbon hit with a nice subtle vanilla touch. Rich malts carry the barrel profile nicely.

M- a few steps above medium in body and lightly carbed with a good bit of heat on the palate. Slightly sticky.

O- the barrel treatment makes this beer for me. Not the biggest fan of the regular but oh boy I like this one. Another great brew from one of the best breweries in america if not the world.

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Photo of jethrodium
3.65/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Capone's. Pours a dark brown with a small white head that leaves a ring. Leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is maple syrup, caramel, sugar, and some bourbon. The initial taste is sweet with maple syrup, some caramel, and some bourbon. The alcohol is well hidden. Medium body. Low carbonation. A bit one dimiensional with the maple dominating other flavors, but certainly enjoyable. I found a bit too sweet to be really good though.

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Photo of John_M
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's last night.

The beer pours an orange amber color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, it's quickly apparent this beer will be pretty sweet, as I get noticeable vanilla, brown sugar, light chocolate and even something of a Hawaiian punch flavor. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but is a bit more interesting and enjoyable I thought. I get something of a red candy apple flavor, along with cherry vanilla, bourbon and more punch. Mouthfeel is pretty full, and the alcohol is definitely noticeable. While not hot, the beer is almost cloying it's so sweet, and that makes it taste a bit heavy on the palate. I'm sure the 10.8% abv. has something to do with that as well.

An impressive beer, no doubt, but it's hard to imagine ever drinking more than a very small glass of it.

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Photo of Blanco
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper/red color with no head. Smell is mostly just straight bourbon. Taste has subtle hints of vanilla, caramel maltiness and fruitiness, but most prominently bourbon. Small hints of syrup, but could not easily pick it up. Medium bodied. Another interesting beer and while I prefer it to the Old Curmudgeon, it is my least favorite of Founders barrel-aged offerings.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured a slightly hazy ruby-brown; no head, just a patchy layer of thin bubbles. Sweet smell of dark sugars, dried fruit, and bourbon in the background. The booze taste hits you right up front, but surprisingly isn't a palate-killer at all. Smooth, sweet, dark sugars take over, with lots of maple syrup coming through, and brown sugar and caramel backing it up. Also noticeable: roasty malts, rum, vanilla, black cherries, bourbon-soaked wood. Lots going on. Full-bodied and chewy, and very drinkable if you like the heavier stuff.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon, on tap at R'n'H in Manhattan, part of an outrageous Founders event there with multiple taps and personalities. 12 ounces for eight dollars. Yes. Rape me, my friend.

Appearance: Served in a tall flute glass. No head, only a rim. No lacing or retention. Color is ruby-amber, transparent. Very flat looking.

Smell: Lots of bourbon, vanilla and toffee/butterscotch right away. Booze. Caramel and heat.

Taste: Vanilla, booze and a prickly finish. Tastes like drinking straight Kentucky bourbon. Super hot! A bit of a biscuit feel. Sweetness all around. Syrup, toffee, Ben&Jerry's ice cream. When you let it warm, it gets better; more balanced, less hot.

Mouthfeel: Hot, spicy, brutal. Full body and flavor, medium carbonation. So boozy!! It bites.

Overall: Glad I tried it, but unless they tame it significantly, I don’t see myself reaching for this too often. Some BA’ers at the Founders event had great things to say about Kaiser Curmudgeon. I would take Black Biscuit, CBS or KBS any day over this! It is a tasty beer, but too sweet and hot and not exactly drinkable to boot.

Would love to see it bottled and aged.

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Photo of s1ckboy
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at my fav local bar Sunset Bar & Grill on 4/26/11. Very big, sweet beer. A deep amber color. Tons of maple syrup right off the bat then a bit of bourbon alcohol in the finish. Those barrels work some magic on this beer. Went to order a second and the keg was kicked! This is my second favorite Founders beer after KBS.

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Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon from Founders Brewing Company
4.26 out of 5 based on 124 ratings.
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