Curmudgeon's Better Half
Founders Brewing Company

Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half
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Style:
Old Ale
Ranked #5
ABV:
12.7%
Score:
96
Ranked #687
Avg:
4.33 | pDev: 9.7%
Reviews:
529
Ratings:
1,812
From:
Founders Brewing Company
 
Michigan, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  443
Gots
  507
SCORE
96
World-Class
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.
Reviews: 529 | Ratings: 1,812 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of trevormajor
trevormajor from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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
Photo of TheRougeBastard
TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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
Nass from Florida

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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
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imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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

overall:
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
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Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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Freonicus from Tennessee

3.43/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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
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KRug from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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
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hman43 from North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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
adamray41 from Georgia

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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
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Mikemcgrath4 from North Carolina

4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Maple, bourbon and molasses, hint of vanilla on nose, smells incredible. Sweet bourbon maple on palate, sticky full finish. Very good beer. Definitely get alcohol on back end, but doesn't take away from the beer.

Aug 17, 2020
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brewale4me from Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

First off...Wow. this is a tasty complex beer.
Appearance: this beer pours amber with a light tan head.
Aroma: buttery, caramel corn, boozy, vanilla, dark toast
Taste: Carmel corn, dark malt, prune, dark cherries, strong molasses sweetness
Mouth feel: medium to full mouth feel, syrupy, medium to low carbonation
Overall: very good beer.

Jul 01, 2020
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misteil from Ireland

4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: one finger creamy off white head with very good retention for its strength, eventually dissipates to a thin layer of small bubbles, a tonne of lacing, beer is mahogany in colour, hazy, lots and lots of little bubbles racing throughout the beer, looks very elegant.

smell: absolute explosion of deep dark aromas here, molasses, dark chocolate, fudge, prunes, figs, plum, maple syrup, earthy, vinous, sweet, some bitterness there, such incredible richness to it, very excited.

taste: sensational, where even to begin, a sweetness takes hold first, a syrupy sweetness, then those dark rich molasses flavours take hold, chocolate syrup and dark chocolate flavours, greek coffee, tobacco, some dark fruit flavours like prune and fig, a little vanilla, lots of whiskey flavour, the finish is smooth and the alcohol resinates long after the finish, an incredibly dense, heavy, indulgent and delicious beer.

feel: full bodied, medium carbonation, incredibly dense, viscous, a load of alcohol warming, almost spicy on the back of the tongue.

overall: a beer that has to be sipped, but could be sipped forever, makes you want to just melt into the ground like all amazing beer does, just so delicious and enjoyable, excellence.

May 30, 2020
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rex_4539 from Greece

4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: Hazy dark amber color, quarter finger tan colored head, nice thin lacing, light carbonation.

S: Malts, sweet, oak, alcohol.

T: Malts, lots of alcohol, oak, sweet-ish, bourbon. Very good.

F: Full bodied, tons of flavor.

O: Excellent ale from Founders, heavy on alcohol.

May 24, 2020
Photo of Parmesan
Parmesan from Colorado

4.34/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L:. Pours a clear brilliant Amber orange with a small head and no lacing.

S:. Strong hints of Bourbon, molasses, maple syrup, a lot of sweetness, some caramel, and toffee.

T:. Lots of sweet maple and molasses, vanilla, and a mellow Bourbon, some caramel. Sweet and decadent, but not overly sweet.

F:. Big body, prickly carbonation.

O:. This beer is sweet, but not overly sweet, a very nice dessert beer.

Apr 05, 2020
Photo of fountainofyouth
fountainofyouth from District of Columbia

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a translucent amber-orange with barrel sediment and a large, fluffy, off-white head.

Smell: Very sweet and fruity. Apricots, figs, butterscotch, toffee. Kiss of hops.

Taste: Follows the nose, but the sweetness is balanced some by bourbon from the oak aging. Teensie bit of burn from booze, but not in an unpleasant way. Not cloying.

Feel: Round, with light carbonation.

Overall: Really well executed, an enjoyable sipper.

Feb 26, 2020
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Vetbidder from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Brownish orange colored with no head to speak of. Very sweet malty boozy nose. Did I mention sweet. Tons of liquor on the flavor with a sweet edge that defeats most of the bite. Really thick and rich yet prickly carbonated. Don’t know how much of this I could drink but it’s good stuff.

Jan 17, 2020
Photo of dd53grif
dd53grif from Michigan

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown with a foamy head that disappears quickly. Caramel and vanilla aromas. Barrel-Aged so the boozy taste comes out but a nice sweetness to it. No noticeable bitterness. Great mouth feel.

Dec 29, 2019
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.81/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L- Deep chestnut with a red tinge. Very slight haze, pours with 3mm cream ultra-fine foam head.
S- It smells of liquor, unsurprisingly whisky. That dominates for me, perhaps masking other less prominent aspects.
T- Woah! Whisky, pungent enough it literally made me shudder (good heavens!). But in mitigation I'd also point out it was my first sip of any beer today. Now continuing, I am noticing woody notes and a broad rich background.
F- It is quite a rich beer, one I treat as a slow-sippin' one. I could happily have this in place of a dessert-wine in the same way as port etc. This would go very well with dessert, or cheese+crackers. This one is going down a real treat.
O- I'd read a range of reviewings from low-score to high. I was concerned by some observations suggesting it's almost cloyingly sweet; I don't favour 'sweet' beer, but I don't think this goes that far. Sure it has sweetness, BIG richness too, but the pungency of the ABV% balances it in the overall impression. I don't like whisky, it's gin for me; but I'm perfectly happy with the clear/loud whisky notes in this beer.
I handed the glass to my wife (with no cues on what it was), and she didn't get whisky at all, or at least she thought she got a whiff of it after I told her about it, and she was on her 5th or so sip.
So. I'm not into sweet beer nor whisky, but I'm enjoying this, it's different but polished. I would start with it having a decent chill on it, then enjoy slowly as it warms and evolves.
Previous reviewers suggested major sediment. I don't know, maybe they aren't used to any sediment? I'd rested the bottle for a few days after moving it, poured carefully and got hardly any - as expected from a bottle-conditioned beer. But there wasn't much sludge left in the bottle either, so a bit of a mystery.
Bottle 355ml £5.59 from Beerhawk/UK. Bottled on: '08/15/18', batch code 1716-6

Dec 21, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle with a 28 August 2018 bottling date. Repeated (same vintage) in April and May 2020: (with the rating adjusted upwards) and January 2021.
Pours with a dark, slightly murky, reddish-brown body topped by a weak head.
Sweet bourbon dominates the aroma and has a strong presence in the flavor. The flavor, however, is more complex, woody and earthy than the aroma suggests. This is quite sweet up front and has a hint of maple but it carries a bitter aftertaste.
Feel: Smooth medium body with remarkably well hidden ABV.
Overall. Revisited with various aged bottles, suggesting it hits its peak somewhere around 2 years.

Dec 10, 2019
Photo of jopezu
jopezu from Georgia

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

pours a clear red mahogany full of floaters, with a thin head. nose; caramel, maple, vanilla, & ethanol. taste; easy caramel malt, black tea, maple/molasses, brown sugar, candied orange, citrus hops, with a tinge of ethanol. very well-controlled for the abv, heavy carbonation & full, velvety mouthfeel. a fantastic sipper that stays interesting and warms the heart. one of founders' best!

Dec 08, 2019
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TH28 from Florida

3.68/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

8/28/18 bottle date. Appearance: Copper brown, fairly clear, with a light off white head.
Aroma: Sweet malt with vanilla from oak, with a tough of molasses syrup
Taste: Intensely rich and cloyingly sweet, with molasses and dark sugar overpowering the malt and bitterness. Vanilla and tea notes shown up on the back end.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with some viscosity and low carbonation.
Finish: Dark sugar, tea, rich maltiness
Overall: The residual sugars in this beer are cloying and make for a difficult drink. If there was a contrast or sharp bitterness to counter the sweetness it would work. Lots of pleasant layers of flavor here, but the combination doesn’t work well.

Dec 01, 2019
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stevoj from Idaho

4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very tasty, malty ale. Pours out a murky, orange copper color with spare head. Malty, musty, woody aroma, fall leaves and decay. Taste is some sweetish malt, a hint of alcohol, maple syrup, toffee, caramels. Very delicious and very easy to drink. Gone before you know it....

Nov 10, 2019
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

**
10/25/19

Bottle to snifter. aged about 14 months.

This is about the 4th or 5th sampling of this I've had, but the first time I've taken note of it.
Sampling alongside Backwoods Bastard, KBS and Underground Mountain Brown.



LOOK: reddish brown color, clear, with HUGE foamy head. Retention is world class.
AROMA: Molasses and bourbon and oak, with a touch of maple.
TASTE: Super sweet, maple and molasses meld into a general sweetness. Oak and bourbon are there also and pleasant.
FEEL: low-to-mid carbonation. Sticky thick. medium to full body.

Another excellent Founders Brew. A little too sweet, but otherwise pleasant in every way.

**

Oct 26, 2019
Photo of Jhgbeth
Jhgbeth from New York

4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Simply amazing this might be the best ale I’ve had to please to buy and sip. Please don’t try it otherwise it will be gone before I can grab enough

Oct 21, 2019
Photo of woemad
woemad from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle received from the madman known as Ovaltine. According to the label, this was bottled on August 28, 2018 (one year ago yesterday).

Poured into a Kane snifter (thanks, again, MacMalt), this was a dark and hazy shade of amber. Decent sized beige head for a bwer nearly 13% alcohol by volume. Modest lace.

The sweetness of maple syrup was immediately perceptible to the workers at the olfactory. Spme bourbon notes were there as well, and increased in magnitude as it warmed.

Sweet, molasses and some caramelly, toffeeish flavor up front, soon matched by oaky and boozy notes from the casks. The maple flavor was more subtle than I was expecting, being really well-integrated with the oaky bourbon notes. The finish was where the booziness really stood out the most.

Fairly full bodied, with a creamy and coating mouthfeel.

Whoa! Whole lotta flavor to this. Considering the lack of hoppy bitterness, I'm a little amazed at how well balanced this is. Don't get me wrong, it's plenty sweet, and is definitely a sipper, but it could have been so much more cloyingly sugary. Maybe I should've waited until after dinner. This would've made an outstanding dessert beer on a chilly wet night like tonight is shaping up to be. Thanks, Mike!

Sep 29, 2019
Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 1812 ratings