Curmudgeon's Better Half
Founders Brewing Company

Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half
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Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Old Ale
Ranked #9
Ranked #1,285
4.3 | pDev: 9.77%
Feb 21, 2022
Jul 10, 2010
Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half
Notes: Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.

Formerly known as Kaiser Curmudgeon.

What tames an Old Ale like Curmudgeons? The tender embrace of oak and sweet maple? That's what. The result is Curmudgeon's Better Half. A harmonious matrimony of our deceptively smooth Old Ale brewed with molasses and time aging spent aging in bourbon barrels that have previously held maple syrup. Because all counterpart should be sweet. Rich and utterly delicious.
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Photo of PapaGoose03
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by PapaGoose03 from Michigan

This is a bottle from the 2018 release. Memory tells me that it tastes like the fresh beer did in 2018 with the exception that a slight sherry-like flavor is present. That's a flavor that I don't like in aged stouts, but in this Old Ale it is heavenly and adds to the complexity.

Feb 21, 2022
Photo of elNopalero
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
by elNopalero from California

Pours a clear, tan brown color. The booze hits up front, bourbon barrel goodness. Warming, with lots of oak. A little rough around the edges but some age will mellow that out.

Feb 02, 2022
4 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Jan 21, 2022
4.38 by TP2MSU from Michigan on Jan 15, 2022
Photo of mschrei
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by mschrei from Illinois

Bottled 8/15/18. Smooth, syrupy, sweet and subtle. Ruby colored with a lot of particulates. Scents of maple and wooden bourbon barrel. Taste is sweet syrup and bourbon, but neither are overly so. The best thing about the feel is it’s boozy but not hot. Maybe aging it a few years helped. Medium bodied, not thick or oily. A beer that works all the way around, especially with some age on it.

Jan 06, 2022
4 by BigIronH from Michigan on Jan 02, 2022
4.5 by Luckydog91 from Texas on Dec 17, 2021
4.27 by QuakeAttack from California on Oct 01, 2021
4.37 by Taenim from New Jersey on Sep 20, 2021
4.24 by SViterileroux74 from Texas on Aug 15, 2021
Photo of Pegasus
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Pegasus from Texas

Appearance: Hazy amber brown in color, with some light passing through, with no notable sediment or particulate. The body is crowned by a massive, dense tan head with outstanding persistence. The lacing is fine-beaded, dense and coats the glass in an unbroken sheet.

Aroma: A rich aroma of caramel, molasses, and maple syrup presents. Bourbon, as well, comes to mind, with its beguiling complexity. There is also a note of wood, possibly oak and soft vanilla. The alcohol is conspicuously absent, interesting in light of the considerable ABV of 12.7%.

Taste: The taste begins with caramel, molasses, and smoky maple syrup. Soon after, there are wood and strong, but gracious bourbon notes. An undercurrent of brown sugar and wood runs throughout the taste. Later in the taste, the alcohol presents, spicy and slightly vinous and moderately warming. The finish is dominated by oak, burnt caramel, a surprisng note of fresh butter, and a mild, lingering herbal bitterness.

Mouth feel: The feel is extraordinary, not merely thick, but actually syrupy, but in a very pleasant way. There is just the barest hint of carbonation. It is fair to say that this is velvety on the palate.

Drinkability/notes: Without qualification, this is superb and yes as some say: "boozy", but in a pleasing way. It strikes me as a dessert beer, but would also pair very well with a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It would also be a wonderful accompaniment, if poured over a premium vanilla ice cream. The bottling date was 08/28/2018, with proper cellaring, there are many good years left.

Presentation: Packaged in a stubby twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a South American-style Pilsener glass.1807:08042021

Aug 05, 2021
Photo of chitoryu12
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
by chitoryu12 from Florida

Look: Dark, chocolate brown. Half a finger of off-white head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Sweet bourbon. A little sugary but the closest I've seen a beer smell to an actual glass of bourbon whiskey.

Taste: Like the smell, very metallic/coppery bourbon and maple syrup. Not particularly sweet. The extreme copper flavor throws it off.

Mouthfeel: Full and smooth, with mild carbonation.

Overall: A beer that reaches for greatness but has something quite off.

Jul 11, 2021
5 by aucanuck from Georgia on Jun 13, 2021
Photo of jbertsch
3.87/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by jbertsch from Massachusetts

Definitely a dessert beer. It's good for what it's trying to be given the molasses and maple syrup barrels being part of the process. But it's also too sweet to enjoy more than a few ounces. So one thump up one thumb down.

May 31, 2021
4.32 by jak from North Carolina on May 28, 2021
Photo of trevormajor
4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by trevormajor from Ohio

750 ML bottle, vintage 2018, poured into a snifter at 55 degrees F:
L - caramel colored (dirty brown) with an off white head that lingered
S - bourbon/rum, maple syrup, bread, malt
T - lots of bourbon, which tastes a bit like Rum (maybe due to the maple syrup), malt flavors as well, lots of bourbon on the finish
F - Thin and a bit oily, with minimal carbonation
O - nice beer, you get the taste/feel of an old ale and the bourbon/maple syrup flavors add to it well

Apr 09, 2021
3.83 by mcplant from New York on Apr 06, 2021
4.54 by WCKDVBZ from South Carolina on Feb 28, 2021
4.87 by Sinister from New York on Feb 21, 2021
Photo of TheRougeBastard
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

Fantastic ale! Slightly sweet with perfect combination of bourbon, chocolate, and molasses! Has a strong ale-esge aftertaste reminiscent of Lagunitas Brown Shugga!

Feb 14, 2021
Photo of Nass
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Nass from Florida

The pour is mahogany colored with plenty of alcohol legs. It's interesting that there is a picture of pancakes on the cover of this beer bottle because this beer reminds me of biting into some fresh & fluffy pancakes with maple syrup. In addition to, I'm getting some molasses & bourbon. I'm detecting some alcohol on the taste but it's nothing off putting or overpowering, basically it's blended in there really well for 12.7% abv. The mouth feel is medium, slick, & oily. I'm kind of on the fence with this beer although the bourbon presence was big in this beer I was still expecting some more action in the taste department, I'm sorry but I cannot give this beer a world class score because the beer is sort of one dimensional & almost cloyingly sweet. I think this beer might be better with another adjunct or 2. Cheers! A-

Feb 03, 2021
4.34 by o29 from Texas on Jan 12, 2021
4.36 by Jonathan-Morgan from Florida on Jan 11, 2021
Photo of imnodoctorbut
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25
by imnodoctorbut from Texas

bottled 8/28/2018

pours dark brown infused deep red amber body with billowing foam burnt cream head that has moderate retention and leaves patches of sticky lacing as it settles to a halo

aroma of bourbon, toffee, bready malt, raisin, buttery holiday spiced bread, vanilla, oak, molasses and maple syrup

taste follows the nose but hits a whiff of grain alcohol in the front still even two plus years out.

fairly high carbo given the years in the bottle, mixed with a medium/thick body that nears syrup when warmed a bit. grainy and sweet body finishes somewhat dry

odd bird mixing maple and bourbon effectively with a traditional ale, rather than a stout. the impact sees itself at the boozy nose, even 2 years out. greatness lingers on the wings, however, and I will let my other bottles of this brew sit and wait for another year or two to unlock greatness.

Jan 07, 2021
Photo of Antg8989
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Antg8989 from New Jersey

Oatmeal cookie and raisin on the aroma; something else - a pleasant sherry. Bigger raisin on the taste with a nice touch of bourbon. Very smooth, lightly carbonated. Overall, fantastic. Wish I caught more maple.

Dec 27, 2020
4.58 by Davideo from Texas on Dec 16, 2020
4.18 by kramacam from Kentucky on Nov 20, 2020
Photo of Freonicus
3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by Freonicus from Tennessee

Very little head on pour, color is ugly brown. Upon first sip, bourbon flavor is superstrong, but then it gets a little more complex. Notes of raisin, caramel, and sourdough bread come through. However, the bourbon taste dominates this brew. Similar to their Backwoods Bastard, this is definitely a bourbon beer. George Thorogood would be proud. If you like whiskey, you'll love this, if you don't, steer clear.

Nov 09, 2020
Photo of Rug
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by Rug from Massachusetts

Bottled 8/28/18

I was very happy to find this beer at the store. At first, I thought it was a new batch I was unaware of, but I checked the bottling date and got it anyways. It's had over 26 months to mature, which I imagine might make this even better

Pours a murky brown with less than a finger of off whit head that quickly fades to a thin ring and leaves minimal lacing but has nice legs to it

A very sweet aroma on this one, lots of bourbon, toffee, molasses, vanilla, dates, buttery oak, caramel, and cinnamon. Only a hint of maple, but I suppose it just faded over time

The front end of the sip is filled with notes of raisin, grain alcohol, and oak. The swallow brings a flash of bourbon at first, and leaves behind molasses, toffee, char, and maple. Not quite as complex as I had expected but still good

A full body combines with tingly carbonation (probably just from the abv) to result in an extremely smooth beer. Somehow, this still finishes dry despite the sweetness. Drinks a tad below the abv

Yeah, this one was good. I was expecting maybe a tad more, but I certainly have no complaints other than my own expectations. Given the maple addition, I'd like to try this fresh. As far as old ales go, my top 7 all time favorite beer was a 7 year old North Coast Old Stock Reserve, so maybe this would be even better with more years on it? I'm not sure. Regardless, another win from Founders!

Nov 04, 2020
4.34 by HardyA34 from Michigan on Nov 01, 2020
4.54 by TomBanahan from Kentucky on Oct 21, 2020
3.76 by RochefortChris from North Carolina on Oct 10, 2020
4.33 by d5001986 from Wisconsin on Oct 02, 2020
Photo of hman43
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by hman43 from North Carolina

Look: It pours murky brown with a tan head. Head retention is excellent.

Smell: It has aromas of maple, bourbon and toffee. There are some background notes of wood and vanilla. There is a berry note with some orange.

Taste: It has flavors of maple, bourbon, toffee, caramel, and orange. There are also some background notes of vanilla and berry.

Feel: It has a chewy and thick body with smooth alcohol warming.

Overall: This is an excellent beer with plenty of complex flavors and aromas.

Sep 18, 2020
Photo of adamray41
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by adamray41 from Georgia

right down the middle of the road. Not exciting nor generates bitter feelings of work. Good sipping beer to keep your mind on more important things like writing a review of a beer.

Sep 07, 2020
4.1 by MjBrewhouse from Idaho on Sep 02, 2020
4.04 by SFNC from North Carolina on Aug 29, 2020
4.21 by paresis from Massachusetts on Aug 28, 2020
4.05 by mgundy32 from Wisconsin on Aug 28, 2020
Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1827 ratings