Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

Liked This Beer
4.35 w/ 124 ratings

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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 124 |  Reviews: 59
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BEERchitect
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
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 mothman
4.35/5  rDev 0%
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 jlindros
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
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 Kegatron
3.97/5  rDev -8.7%
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 Rifugium
4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 579 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
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 mdfb79
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 03/11/11 notes. Had this at NOTB up in Bston, MA.

a - Pours a

s - Smells of caramel, oak, bourbon, maple, roasted malts, and toffee.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, maple syrup, oak, vanilla, sugar, bourbon, and toasted malts. Really like the maple and vanilla coming out in the taste.

m - Medium to full body more on the full side, and low carbonation. Thick and smooth.

d - I thought this was an interesting old ale that I really enjoyed. I loved the taste and maple barrels the used; would love to have this one again sometime.

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Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of imbibehour
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
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 MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
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 drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev -6.4%
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 BARFLYB
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
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 John_M
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
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 yourefragile
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of rudzud
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
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 ADTaber
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of n2185
4.62/5  rDev +6.2%
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 cosmicevan
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the founders event at rattle n,hum, had one of these while waiting on the bar to tap CBS. Pretty popping at 4pm. Beer showed a nice amber color in a flute glass. Smells and tasted like old cumudge crossed with backwoods. Nice sweet oaky bourbon. Very drinkable, a bit boozy. Glad to try it, not something I will drink all the time. Once the stouts were tapped, I set this brew to the side and ordered some black biscuit and CBS. After trying those and hanging out, I was shocked to taste this beer again. After warming for about 20 minutes, it was a different beer...10x more tasty and the booze was not in your face at all. It was a sweet candy-like caramel beer. Really delicious...gotta recommend drinking this a bit warmer for maximum taste and enjoyment.

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Photo of Bung
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
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 jrallen34
3.36/5  rDev -22.8%
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 -19.8%
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 zekeman17
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.87/5  rDev -11%
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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Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92.7% out of 100 with 124 ratings
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