Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

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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.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 124 |  Reviews: 59
Photo of xnicknj
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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 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 beerhan
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
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 AgentZero
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%
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 JDizzle
4.87/5  rDev +12%
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 jampics2
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
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 homebrew311
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
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 grub
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

sampled on tap at hopcat as part of the 3rd annual extreme beer fest, jan 21/2011.

pours slightly hazy deep dark orange, neither red nor brown, with just a thin ring of very fine bubbles. no lace.

aroma is great. sweet caramel. vanilla and bourbon. light citrus. hints of alcohol. biscuit and cracker. multi-grain bread. nice spicy and slightly earthy hops.

taste is good. bourbon and vanilla. light alcohol. bit of maple. light citrus. big caramel character. bit of toffee. whole wheat bread and cracker. light biscuit. medium-low bitterness level. lots of barrel, almost overshadowing the beer to the point where there is more barrel than beer.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. medium-low carbonation level.

drinkability is great. it's pretty barrel-heavy but still balanced pretty well otherwise. nice depth and complexity.

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Photo of Vdubb86
3.87/5  rDev -11%
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 olympuszymurgus
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
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 LanceW
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance was very dark and was served in a goblet. The light brown head was thick and filled of tight small bubble. The smell gave away that this beer was going to be thick and heavy. The taste was great and definitely a beer that should be sipped and not pounded. I mouth feel was strong and lingered. I was able to take a sip every 5-10 minutes and was complete content with that. I would recommend this to someone that like heavy stout or will to try something that will knock them on the floor. One of the best beers I have had in the year of 2010

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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 chicagobeerriot
2.97/5  rDev -31.7%
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 Urbancaver
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
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 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 boomer31
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
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 zoso1967
4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
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 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 vette2006c5r
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
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 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 Shumista
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of liquidcraft
4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
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 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 TCgoalie
4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
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
Beer rating: 4.35 out of 5 with 124 ratings
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