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 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 JDizzle
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Founders(best place ever!!)

It pours a dark amber with hints of copper and a off white head that disappeared quickly. It looks like an old ale should.

The smell of this beer is unreal. I must have looked crazy as I kept smelling it over and over again like I was getting high off of it. It's smells sweet with a lot of Bourbon, malt, oak, and vanilla.

The taste is very barrel and bourbon forward with a nice malt backbone. Not too sweet and the alcohol is in there, but perfect-not too much. A only got a little bit of maple.

The drinkability of this beer is almost a 5, due to the high ABV, I have to rate it a 4.5 This is my favorite Founders beer!!! Well Done guys!!

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Photo of boomer31
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 8-22 & re-reviewed 8-27 on tap at Founders Brew pub - taken from notes

A - Copper and transparent with a tiny white head. Had Curmudgeon about a year ago and I thought it was a darker color than this version...could be wrong as I didn't review that beer.

S - Sweet maple and bourbon, some oak and vanilla. Had this and my wife had the Apple Bourbon Cream Ale. This had so much more oak than the Cream Ale but the maple really comes through.

T - An explosion of sweet maple bourbon and caramel flavor. No alcohol here as the sweetness hides the burn well. If you like sweet/bourbon/caramel this is a must try.

M - Beautiful low carb, sticky sweet and creamy.

D - Again this hides the alcohol and the sweetness really keeps you coming back though I'd be careful...11% will catch up to you.

Overall this was the beer of my MI trip. I had it on day one and we took a detour to try it again. I love bourbon and sweet maple so this was a homerun!

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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 homebrew311
4.69/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this at the Founders taproom.

A: pours a brilliant clear golden red, creamy white head, some lacing

S: the nose is outstanding! Maple and vanilla dominate and sweet malts hang out in the background. Great balance, booze is pretty well hidden.

T: vanilla and sweet malts dominate the palate, delicate notes of maple come next with notes of oak at the back, incredible balance

MF: smooth, creamy, low carbonation

D: this beer is awesome! Like all the other maple bourbon beers that Founders makes, this one is a special treat.

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Photo of Rymar9
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draft at common market in Charlotte..celebrating American craft beer week!

A- pours a dark auburn color. A sort of smooth clean muddy water with a touch of white lacing around the head.

S- smells of sweet bourbon. Some faint brown sugar and toffee but bourbon is the dominant smell.

T- wow what a great tasting beer! Taste is plenty of bourbon with some sweet maple and vanilla notes. A slight smooth butterscotch is in there somewhere.

M- pretty smooth, goes down pretty easy although the alcohol is very present and this is definitely a slow sipper.

O- overall this is a fantastic beer and I'm glad I got to try it. If you get the chance, don't pass it up!

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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 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.

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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!

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Sunset in Allston. Reviewed from very fresh notes

A - Dark brandy color with a thin disc of whitish head. Good looking beer.

S - Smells of sweet (candied?) fruits, lots of bourbon, a bit of maple and vanilla. The smell doesn't leap out of the glass like I'd hoped it would.

T - It's rare that I find a beer that the taste of which overwhelms the smell. This is an example off such a beer. The smell was a tad muted, but the taste is not at all. Just like the smell in content, though! Bourbon up front, but the finish is out of this world, vanilla, a bit of heat, maple. Awesome.

M - Lightly carbonated, a bit syrupy. This works for the beer, though. It holds the flavor in your mouth for a long time.

Overall, I love everything that I've had by Founders and this merely reaffirms that. Awesome brew, but it is certainly a sipper and a one-per-nighter.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An insanely good beer that shoves a tremendous amount of maple syrup and bourbon chracter into the foreground.

Pouring a hazy light-rust color, the beer seemingly looks like maple syrup. Except with the dainty creme of foam that adorns the surface, this cordial carries a high visual weight. Lacing is foregone for brandyish legging. Glass coating alcohol sugars relpace retention. And, the more beer-like carbonation is surpressed by the shere weight of the beverage. It begins to take on honey bourbon appearances.

Aromas of heavy toffee, maple, rich caramel, vibrant oak, vanilla, butterscotch, and peanut brittle and with appricot and cherry-like esters all adorn the rim. Highly sweet scents but with the backing of bourbony alcohols, tea-like herbal hops, and candied wood. The aromas aren't loaded with variatals, but showcase four or five scents in high proportions.

Succulent and savory flavors of the sweeter maple-toffee-caramel carry the beer from initial sip through its long and memorable finish. Along the way, the candied upstart begins to pick up the bourbon vanilla and fresh char notes at mid palate and they continue to develop into alcohol heat, dryness, and confectioner's powdery note late. Cherry esters accompany the bourbon flavor and gives a glimpse of complexity, expecially in finish. Again, not overly complex except for the shere 'bigness' of the beer. It's maple, bourbon, and cherry through and through.

Syrupy sweet from begining 'til end, the beer proudly displays its dessert-like character with a weight that carries early creaminess as a slight reprieve from the sugary liquid, but that's short-lived. The full brunt of the beer weighs heavy on the tongue and coats the mouth with a brandy-like cling that proves much more succulent and savory than refreshing or drinkable. It's another annimal.

In many ways, this beer resembles the Bourbon Barrel Ales made by both the Lexington Brewing Company and by Schlafly. Except the base beer here is much more characterful, substantial, and balanced. The bourbon barrel aging complements the beer well but without complete dominance.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny amber hues. Looks like a carbonated bourbon! Smells like whiskey and more whiskey with a hint of hops. Tastes like vanilla heaven! Spices, wood, malty goodness overwhelms the tongue. Balanced but overpowering at the same time. My only complaint is that its too syrupy... just like old curmudgeon

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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 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 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 xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap into taster glass, review from notes

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange with a light crop of white head on top. Retains for a bit with some spotty lacing and film while drinking.

Strong smack of syrupy maple with bourbon and earthy wood. Brown sugar and caramel with some dark fruit as well. Very rich overall but highly inviting.

Boozy warmth right up front with earthy bourbon followed by the soothing effects of maple syrup. Burnt brown sugar and caramel add to the sweetness, followed by a plethora of dark fruits including raisins and dates. Roasted malts with more boozy warmth towards the finish, which is slightly hot.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, syrupy, sticky, and smooth on the tongue. I'm usually turned off by sweeter beers, but Founders discovered a way to turn the base brew into a truly remarkable creation with maple barrels. Delicious, sticky, and boozy in all the right ways.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

8 oz in a snifter at the brewery, a cold tuesday afternoon. A fine day, old friends, family, a beer trip for goodness.

A silky caramel color, the look of liquid amber. A light head, quickly gone to reveal the perfect clarity. I can stare into time.

Nose is hot, booze and spice, cherries. The first sip starts with candy, hot sugars and fruit, a lingering chocolate and a vanilla. This is nice, hot but nice.

I could sit an drink this all day, and gladly would if not the damnable desire to tick more.

Founders- Can we be friends?

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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 Dreadnaught33
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brewery the first week of April 2011. What an awesome beer!

A: Brown-crimson to muddy amber in color with an ok bubbly ting of white head and some lacing.

S: Nice sweet bourbon smells abound with a raisin and dark fruit backdrop. The bourbon, though it comes through nicely, is tempered by the maple sweetness. Toffee, butterscotch also come through though the aroma on the whole is not overly strong even when warm.

T: The taste is a different story, An amazing sweet and dark bourbon taste with plum, prune, brown sugar, and butterscotch as the sugary malt base. Very balanced attack with just a bit of heat warning of the higher ABV. Such succulent buttery toffee notes that go great with the barrel, easily putting this high in the barrel aged Old Ale category.

M: Medium to full bodied with lots of sugar in front and some bitters. A little heat but not too much.

Overall the beer is very good, though it is heavy and hard to get through after a while (drinkability?). Would seek this out if it gets bottled.

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

Served in a Brandy Snifter at Founders.

Served with 1/2 finger of white head. Color is a bright ruby hued amber red.

Aroma: Maple, warm bourbon, and oak. Dark fruits. Raisins, plums, and bananas. Caramel and toffee malt.

Taste: Much more of a maple base here. The maple shows much more than the CBS I had later in the night. Has the bourbon and oak flavors right after the maple hits. Then shortly after is the vanilla and toffee. Also get some raisin and plum flavors with green apples.

Mouthfeel: Warm, creamy, and a bit boozy. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends warm with the barrel aging notes showing.

Overall, a solid old ale. The maple barrels really add an incredible layer to this already complex beer. Very solid. A bit slow drinking, but that isn't bothering me.

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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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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 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 TCgoalie
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 6/30/10

Stopped in and saw this new brew on the menu, so I had to get it.

Poured into a large snifter, it is a ruby red hue with a touch of brown to it. Not much head or lacing.

There is a pleasant blend of whiskey and maple in the nose. A hint of vanilla helps create a smooth sensation to my sniffer.

The taste is much more mellow than the standard curmudgeon. Brown sugar and mellow maple flavors blend perfectly with the whiskey backing.

There is not a lot of carbonation which helps create such a smooth drink. This is definitely full bodied with some drying in the aftertaste.

This is a sipper, but the complexity makes for great drinkability. I keep sipping trying to pick out the nuances. Founders' Maple Barrels are magical!

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