Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

124 Ratings
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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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 124 |  Reviews: 59
Reviews by jampics2:
Photo of jampics2
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big, huge thanks to CoreyRoz and to Mr. John Host for bringing this amazing beer to Cleveland for a wonderful event to raise money for charity. The kegs were on at Deagan's next door, but a few growlers made their way to Rozi's for the event. I got to try a few sample pours alongside Black Biscuit then finally got a proper 12oz snifter when the kegs were officially tapped at Deagan's.

This beer is amber with some splashes of caramel and copper throughout. The transparency surprised me, but the overall look is clean and attractive. The barrel has killed any retention, but a touch of lace remains. The appearance is good, but the rest of the experience is epic.

The smell of this beer is what dreams are made of. It's full of whisky notes and just a touch of underlying caramelized malt. I get huge oak, vanilla, toasted coconut, maple syrup and a good deal of booziness. Here's the cool thing - this isn't abrasive at all. Instead, the booze and delicate notes all come together like a nice whisky. Wow!

The first sip is a bit rough, but then we're in smooth sailing mode from here on in. There is more barrel on display here than just about any other Founders beer I've had except maybe 2009 Nemesis. After the initial shock of the explosion of flavor and unexpected sweetness from the first sip, I realize this "beer" is really more of a spirit. Barrel notes of vanilla, oak and coconut piggyback on a huge, sweet caramel malt base. Some maple and bourbon play with toffee and a touch of brown sugar. This is lovely, unique and so well executed. Just a touch short of perfection!

The beer is just a touch on the sticky/syrupy side and the heft does impact the drinkability. But this is a work of art in letting the booze and barrel work together instead of covering up with yeast, hops, roast or adjuncts. I will be permanantly seeking this out from this day forward.

Old Ale is fast becoming a favorite style of mine. To me, it's amazing the breadth of beers that qualify for this style. That being said, I'm all about this angle - huge caramel malts, preferably barrel aged, with booze and balance. I was shocked to find myself preferring this to Black Biscuit, though, as that was one of my highest scoring beers ever. Just goes to show there may be something even more special right around the bend. Thanks to Founders, Deagan's and of course, the incomperable Rozi's for such a wonderful treat!

 2,412 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of readicculus
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of TCJosh
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

 536 characters

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

 653 characters

Photo of Shumista
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Side by side with the original curmudgeon at the brewery. notes from about a week ago.

Pours amber very little off white head, definitely a darker look than the curmudgeon. Oak, maple, vanilla, and brown sugar in those. The aroma is deeper and richer than the curmudgeon which actually smells bright compared to its barrel aged brother. The flavor is again deeper and richer than the original. The maple dominates with oak and vanilla there too. There is a crisp hoppy note in the original that is totally absent in the kaiser. Mouthfeel continues to follow this trend, the kaiser is thicker and more syrupy than old c. I didn't think it was possible to make old curmudgeon seem "light" in any capacity but with the kaiser as a reference point that's definitely what happens. All in all I prefer the kaiser. Its richer and mellower with a lot more going on. I'm starting to think I want to see a maple barrel version of every beer founders makes.

 948 characters

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.

 1,543 characters

Photo of beerhan
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Founders the night before the KBS party.

This is one nice looking beer. Thick, dark amber almost brown color with a thin head.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, and molasses with a little bit of oak. I personally enjoyed smelling this one quite a bit. Fantastic.

Tastes very oaky. The bourbon and the vanilla just make this beer incredible. It is very intense and is a sipper. The bourbon shines through over all other tastes. It is a dessert beer but a true treat.

Mouthfeel is kind of awkward to review for this beer because I can compare it more to sipping on a fine whiskey than a beer because it is not very carbonated but very alcohol forward in intensity.

This may be tough to take more than one down but that one will last you a while. Every sip is to be savored and the alcohol will sink in. This is delicious, try it if possible.

 859 characters

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.

 714 characters

Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of buffs9
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10.8 ABV according to the chalk board.
Thankfully someone else added this, I was a bit lazy. Had over the week of the 4th.

An orange/amber pour with nearly no cream colored head.

Aroma was a bit subdued for some reason, light caramel/toffee oak and heat.

Taste is more expressive. Solid malt and toffee, more maple and oak in this than the standard, replacing the hop presence pretty much. Still very good and quite subtle. Grew on me as it warmed.

The abv and slight warmth makes this a bit of a sipper, though it was not hard to drink on an unusually warm Wednesday night.

Have to love the subtle brewing experiments these guys do rather than the weird/extreame others prefer.

 683 characters

Photo of Manboy21182
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of Magery
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of n2185
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark orange-amber with a finger of off-white head. The head fades into a thin layer with some decent lacing.

S: Maple up front followed by vanilla, caramel, oak, and bourbon. Smells amazing.

T: Everything the nosed promised and then some. Sweet maple at first that mixes well with vanilla, caramel, and oak notes from the barrel. The bourbon follows behind, complimenting the other flavors very well. Finishes sweet with a light, but not overpowering, alcohol burn.

M: Thick, creamy body with medium carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet but avoids being cloyingly so.

O: Overall, a fantastic beer. Definitely the best old ale I've had. The maple and bourbon flavors of the barrel blend so well with the base beer.

 730 characters

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
5/5  rDev +17.4%

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.

 592 characters

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

 612 characters

Photo of tclapper
5/5  rDev +17.4%

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.

 367 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
2/5  rDev -53.1%

Photo of Jparkanzky
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of JoshVandy
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

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