Curmudgeon's Better Half | Founders Brewing Company

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Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half
1,212 Ratings
Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup.

Formerly known as Kaiser Curmudgeon

Added by TCgoalie on 07-10-2010

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Ratings: 1,212 |  Reviews: 328
Photo of Rimbimhoot
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Caramel, butterscotch, brown sugar, molasses, bourbon, maple, alcohol, dates, figs, rich, flan

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Photo of justintcoons
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Hazy amber-mahogany. Short head dissipates quickly.

Maple, bourbon, caramel, toffee, molasses, and oak.

Maple and molasses in spades. Smooth bourbon, charred oak, and touches of vanilla. Caramel cubes and toffee. Light earth, roasty bitterness to help balance out the sweetness.

Medium bodied, sweet, silky, oily, warming, and toasty with a moderate bitterness.

Warming, sweet, and decadent. The maple bourbon barrels are always fantastic.

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Photo of Jame515
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jkblr
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottled 8/14/18 (42 days ago) poured into a Duvel glass at fridge temp 12.7% ABV per label. The beer pours mostly bright in a dull brown amber color. The head is mocha colored and, after a hard pour, settles out to an island and thin ring. Slight lacing. The aroma is mild bourbon with vanilla and maple sweetness. The taste is kinda amazing. Mildly sweet with maple, vanilla, caramel, oak and just enough drying bourbon to balance the whole thing out. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and the carbonation is medium to low. There is no perceived bitterness or hop presence in taste or aroma. No booze in smell or taste, even as it warms. Overall, outstanding. I like big, malty beers and this is one of the best I've ever had. Delicious.

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Photo of travelguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Photo of bubseymour
4.96/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of teromous
4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the back label: "Bottled On: 08.14.18 2129 6 12.7% alc./vol."

Appearance: It has a tawny brown body with a hazy opalescence. The head is medium sized, tobacco stained white, and creamy textured. It has very good head retention and lacing.

Aroma: There is a soft vanilla aroma with a gentle wood scent. There is a clear alcohol smell.

Taste: There are lovely flavors of caramel, vanilla, a light bit of oak, a touch of butterscotch, and a gentle alcohol aftertaste. It is a very pleasant and sweet tasting beer

Mouthfeel: The body of this beer is amazingly smooth, full bodied, and gently textured. It is an absolute joy to sip as it rolls across the palate.

Overall: It is simply a fantastic beer that I would both highly recommend and drink again. It is very enjoyable to drink in both its flavor and how it presents itself on the palate. The beer makes you want to take another sip to come back into the fold of deliciousness. This would be a perfect holiday beer or special occasion beer.

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Photo of puck1225
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

Beautiful dark reddish orange with a nice head and lacing. Sweet oak smell. Taste of maple syrup, vanilla , spiced candied oranges, and bourbon. Boozy enough to make it an occasional treat.

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Serving: A 750mL bottle poured into a Founder's CBS snifter. This is the Fall 2018 release, maybe only 2-3 months old at this point.

A: Pours a murky brown, somewhat clear. Off-white head that sticks around the edges. Pretty much Curmudgeon with more lacing and slickness.

S: Definitely maple syrup up front, followed by oak, vanilla and certainly molasses. Bourbon not super noticable, but is there in the oakiness.

T: Yeah, big maple syrup and vanilla and molasses up front. Finish is all bourbon and oaky goodness. A little spicy and hot at the end, but not too bad.

M: Big and full, as it should be. Finish is defiantly a little hot, hotter than most of their big BA beers. But it's tolerable.

O: This is a very special beer for me. It's actually the very first barrel aged beer I've ever had. Back in my nieve days of just learning the craft beer culture, I shared this beer with my future wife at the Founder's tap room in GR. I completely missed the boat on the CBS release, but during those rainy March days, I discovered their follow-up, Better Half. To me, it was just another beer. But little did I know, I wouldn't taste it again for another 6 years. Again, on the heels of CBS, Better Half is back and I couldn't be happier. After years and years of thousand's of beers and whales and what not, this beer is seen in a new light. It's rich, tasty, complex. Maybe not as good as CBS, but definitely has it's own place in the beer HOF.

Recommendation: Probably top 5 all-time Founder's beers, this is a must-try.

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Photo of Rootscipio
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Eman17
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of kidzord
3.29/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of dbl_delta
3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 08-20-18 into tulip glass. Pours a beautiful clear dark amber with a brief off-white head. Initial impression is a creamy-smooth, syrupy bourbon bomb with enough alcohol to get your immediate attention. (Note to self: much as I hate to cellar beers, this one might be a legitimate candidate.) Mouthfeel is creamy-sticky. Kind of like Aunt Jemima's with a shot of bourbon. Finish is sweeeeet and sticky.
I generally like sweet, high-octane beers, but this one might be a little over the top in the sweetness stakes. Not something you'd want to drink moe than one of. Fun to try, but I'd probably opt for something more restrained.

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Photo of MJ64
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jduprey007
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Knickfan3
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Dougwillhike
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of petewheeler
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ian_graf
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dogdrule
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2018 batch - 12 oz. bottle poured into a teku.

Pours a deep, dark amber with a 2 finger head that's just barely off-white. A nice fine, frothy foam coats the glass in an even curtain of suds that cling long after the head has died down.

Nose has the same maple character as CBS - might just be the combo of maple/bourbon together that feels so reminiscent. Smells much less sweet and breakfasty than I anticipated. Maple and bourbon up front, followed by vanilla and browned butter and maybe a little dried fruit. As it warmed got a little bit of toffee as well.

First sip cold is primarily bourbon; more alcohol heat than expected but not unpleasant. Something a touch medicinal happening that I've gotten from some barleywines before. Maple is swimming somewhere deep under the bourbon and only peeks out longer after a swallow, almost warming the tongue. Mellows considerably as it warms, alcohol dials down and bourbon doesn't dominate as much. Still primarily bourbon but maple, vanilla, and toffee are all there as well. Definitely continues to improve as the temp rises, second half of the glass was better than the first.

Feel is fine, never had an old ale blow me away in this department but also haven't had a great many old ales. Medium bodied, enough carb to keep things moving. Doesn't leave the same maple sweetness on the lips I got from CBS.

Overall I may have overhyped this beer expecting it to be the perfect union of a lot of my favorite beer components, anticipating it would be far and away my favorite offering from Founders, but I think CBS may be the superior maple beer. Obviously 2 different styles but I think the maple bourbon barrels elevated KBS higher than they elevated Old Curmudgeon. Still a thoroughly enjoyable beer, super glad to have tried it, would definitely drink again. The world needs more Old Ales and this is an excellent addition and I'm thrilled Founder's brought it back.

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Photo of RobinLee
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Zopiac
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep amber-brown, slightly hazy, with robust dark cream head that lingers. Smell reminds me of the bird aisle in a pet store with dried fruits and grain. Maple is present but presents separately. Maybe like a whole grain pancake with maple syrup? I can't pick up the bourbon but that might just be due to how accustomed I am to bourbon.

Taste is on first sip an insane explosion of flavor. Bourbon is more noticeable, but maple still dominates it. Bitter on the back end not too unlike a porter, with some heavily roasted malts evident. If there is any good quantity of hops I'm having a hard time isolating them from the maple and malts. Creamy finish.

Not unlike the blueberry stout I had a while back - initially find them really tasty but get overwhelmed and overall tired of the overly forward presentation halfway through a glass. And the large bottle size doesn't help that; they could have at least sold it in a swingtop bottle.

Would probably buy again, and it was a good experience. But cannot drink regularly (or afford to).

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours out medium amber in color. The head is tan with excellent retention. Seeing some nice lacing.

The first whiff smelled like straight up bourbon. In a good way. As I move it around though I do get plenty of maple syrup, coconut, and vanilla. There is a hint of grains but this beer is all about bourbon and syrups. Smells delicious. The alcohol warmth isn't over powering which I like.

Wow this is tasty. Take the nose and multiply it by 7. Tons of syrup and bourbon. Lots of coconut and vanilla, A little smokiness. Warmth from the alcohol is also stronger though.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. Maybe even light. Feels soft with soft carbonation.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark reddish amber body, essentially clear, under a slim finger of tan foam... Nice aromas of bourbon and sweet chewy dark fruits with notes of vanilla and maple... Very sweet-tasting, with plenty of chewy fruit candy, maple vanilla bourbon, fruit bread and treacle... There is a faint medicinal edge akin to cherry cough syrup - I guess that's the alcohol and fruit combination - it's not bad, mind you, but the suggestion is there - and a very slight bit of oak to put a bit of dryness to the finish... Medium-weight, subdued carbonation, little to no bitterness, and a little bit of sticky syrup...

This and CBS were two releases I missed out on back in 2010 and 2011 or whenever it was they passed through here, and they've been on my "wants" list all this time. I may have built it up in my head a bit as it didn't bowl me over as I'd expected - I've got three more 12 oz bottles to "process" - as of this first drink though, it's a solid old ale, perhaps a bit sweeter than I'd expected, but my palate is alright adjusting to that as it warms... I think you'd be crazy to pass it up, but I don't know if you'd need to go crazy to get some...

8/22/18 bottling...

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Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 1,212 ratings