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 chicagobeerriot
2.97/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Enjoyed on tap at the mothership in Grand Rapids.

Pours amber with ruby highlights and minimal head.

The smell is worth lingering over: bourbon, vanilla and caramel hit you all at once. Love the smell, but it foreshadows the booziness to come...

The beer tastes like a bourbon cocktail: strong bourbon and vanilla characteristics overlay a thickly sweet maple flavor all preceding a very boozy finish that's a bit of a mess. Don't get me wrong: I love bourbon, and I usually look at barrels the way I view bacon and deep frying (it makes everything better). What I'm disappointed by is that, unlike most of Founders' stuff, the flavors from the barrel aging are very blunt and don't let the characteristics of the base beer through. IMHO, barrel aging should accentuate a beer rather than overwhelm it. Here, I don't believe the barrel has done Curmudgeon any favors; the parent beer is almost unrecognizable. I'd say that aging might help this out over time, but since it's not bottled, that option is off the table for now. A rare miss from a very strong brewery.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.36/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a darker orange, crisp, clear. A light tan head, only a little head and lacing...A strong aroma, lots of alcohol and burnt sugar, reminds me of a strong unbalanced dipa, too harsh for me...The taste is thankfully sweeter with some caramel, but still too hot for my taste. A very bitter alcoholic finish.

Not a huge fan of this.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.49/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap at the brewpub. Apparently another in the line of Founders beers aged in maple barrels, I was glad for the opportunity.

The beer was a deep red color, merging into rust, with almost no head. The aroma is STRONG, alcoholic strong but that's to be expected from the base beer. The maple adds a sweetness to the nose, along with maybe some vanilla but that could be my imagination.

It tastes abrasively strong to me, overly sweet but with a bitter bite in the aftertaste. Noticeable ethanol too, very strong and not a chugger. I enjoyed sipping out the non-alcoholic flavors but otherwise found this almost a chore to finish.

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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 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 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 AgentZero
3.75/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A dark amber colored beer that lets some light through. Lighter than I was expecting from an old ale. Off-white head that vanished instantly.

S - Lot of caramel and sweetness, with a hefty dose of whisky. Bit of vanilla and barrel here.

T - Pretty hot and sweet, this one is sweet enough that I can tell it's going to be difficult to get down after a while. A bit of fruity sweetness as well.

M - Sugary, fuller bodied, moderate carbonation.

D - Kind of hard for me to drink. It's pretty good, but it gets so sweet and hot after a while and becomes kind of hard to drink. Booze is not hidden well enough, although I think that it is a combination with the sweetness and flavors that a lot of people will go for.

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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 Vdubb86
3.87/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter on tap at Founders

This beer pour an orangish yellow color with a white head which in my experience is odd for an old ale, but it's not too bad. The smell is of peat smoked scotch. The aromatic made me want to drop some ice cubes in it and have it on the rocks it smelled so much like scotch whiskey. The taste however was decidedly different from the aroma. The taste was that of liquefied butterscotch. There was really no other way to describe the taste of this beer aside from that. It was rather smooth on the palate, but it was strong with booze to the point where it was a tad difficult to consume. Not bad, but not my favorite from them.

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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 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 vette2006c5r
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Curmudgeon poured a dark amber color, with a small head that didnt stay with the beer too long. It had a very malty smell to it, that wasnt too strong. It had a very strong and malty taste to it. It had a very strong flavor to it as well. It was a bit difficult to drink due to the heavyness, of it and the ABV didnt help. Overall however a fantastic beer, a poster child for the old ale style.

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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 zoso1967
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my good friend TCgoalie for being the guide on my first trip to Founders Tap Room!

Served up a slightly red amber with no head, but a ring of white foam that clings to the glass and leaves poor lace. Aroma is pretty hot with the bourbon front and center. It is sweet and sugary with some earthy tones, maple and perhaps a whisper of vanilla. The maple is much more preset in the flavor, and it tastes wonderful. The delicious maple and bourbon dominate the palate, making me wish I had tried normal Curmudgeon so that I would have a better starting point. The malt profile is very caramely with a slight toffee/toasty character. It seems quite sweet, but this works very well with the maple flavors. This beer is medium bodied with a crazy good finish. It is so clean and balanced, leaving yummy tastes in its wake. This is a sipper, and not maybe something I would drink all the time, but it is super interesting and I really dig it.

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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 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 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.

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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 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 MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap during the Nemesis 2010 release. Served in a snifter.

A - Near-transparent reddish orange body. Served with minimal foam that settles to a thin ring and leaves behind touches of haze and lace.

S - Whiskey, green apple alcohol, oak, and burnt sugars. It's somewhat harsh and boozy, but not out of character for an old ale.

T - Tons of maple character, but with a tannic whiskey finish. Much sweeter than the nose, with caramel and toffee malt flavors. Aftertaste is all maple. Very nice, and nowhere near as hot as the nose.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, sticky, with a lightly tannic finish. Some warmth after a while.

D - This goes down pretty slowly. I found 8oz to be more than enough. Seemed boozier than Looking Glass, even though this is purportedly lower in ABV.

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Photo of liquidcraft
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had this side by side with a regular curmudgeon. Scents of vanilla, oak and brown sugar in the kaiser. Stickier, sweeter and softer than the curmudgeon, the kaiser seems like more of a fireside beer. Any sharpness that could have been attributed to the original curmudgeon has mellowed out. This would be wonderful after a day of being out in the cold, but its still pretty damn good on a summer night.

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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.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft pour at the Rattle n Hum, served in an 12oz tall thin glass.

Kaiser Curmudgeon occupies somewhere between burnt orange and mahogany in the color spectrum. There's a bit of bone tinted foam sitting on top of the beer, but once it fades it leaves no evidence that it was there. The nose is sugar syrupy sweet, a pretty even split between caramel and maple syrup. The flavor adds a biscuity malt presence to the mix, but those caramel and maple notes still carry the beer for the most part. Despite all that, the beer stops short of coming across as cloying. The body has as rich and full a body as I'd expect from a beer that for all intents and purposes is 100% malt drive. The carbonation is enough to keep the beer from turning into something more suited to topping pancakes or waffles. It's a credit to Founder's skill and creativity that they can brew two beers (this and Black Biscuit) that are in the same style yet incredibly distinct and delicious.

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