Curmudgeon's Better Half
Founders Brewing Company

Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Old Ale
Ranked #5
Ranked #1,290
4.3 | pDev: 9.77%
Feb 28, 2023
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.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.38 by BradtheGreat7 from Ohio

Feb 28, 2023
Rated: 4.15 by dms1767 from Nebraska

Oct 19, 2022
Rated: 4.26 by 2beerdogs from California

Jul 31, 2022
Photo of Curt2969
Reviewed by Curt2969 from Ohio

4.56/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75
Appears copperish brown color with obvious light sediment and thin to medium lacing - beautiful. Smell reminds me of a boozy maple syrup, not overly pronounced, but certainly not hiding the booze. Taste is fantastic. Smooth sipper for sure. It's not my favorite style (stouts), but it's certainly really close. Fairly easy drinking considering the ABV. The mouthfeel is good for the style. I was hoping for chewier, but again, I love stouts. Overall, this is a sensational brew. One that I will certainly have again!
Thanks to my brother for giving me this wonderful beer!
Jun 20, 2022
Photo of NCSapiens
Reviewed by NCSapiens from Indiana

4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
I had the 2017 on draft poured in a chimay glass. The aging really mellowed this out and turned a good beer into something truly interesting. The molasses compliments the ale quite nicely. The oak taste is significantly subdued upon aging but is still detectable. Likewise the bourbon elements. Maple is there but plays second fiddle to the molasses. Gorgeous ruby brown color with resplendent white foam and lacing. Chewy but medium thick and mild carbonation.
Jun 04, 2022
Photo of draheim
Reviewed by draheim from Washington

4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
750mL (2018 release) into a tulip. Pours a clear deep honey with a velvety layer of soft foam across the top.

Aroma is sticky and sweet, classic malt-heavy English barley wine/old ale. My search for notes of maple on the nose goes unrewarded, just tons of heavy, malty sweetness.

Taste reveals the maple I was seeking on the nose. Sugary sweet, chewy, thick, heavy. Superlatives fail. Along with the maple there’s plenty of fermenting fruit here—peaches, apricots, figs, dates—and unrelenting sugar. Vanilla, an indiscernible liqueur, dry oak. Some degree of bitterness, presumably from a nominal amount of hopping, counters all the sweetness, but sugary matinees dominates here.

Mouthfeel is likewise heavy and chewy, thick. Lingers on the palate, goes down not unlike cough syrup, with far better flavor.

Overall a very nice dessert beer, clearly meant to be shared. This is a true sipper and, since I am tackling this bottle alone, I’m thankful I started early.
May 20, 2022
Photo of PapaGoose03
Reviewed by PapaGoose03 from Michigan

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Reviewed by elNopalero from California

4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 4 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Jan 21, 2022
Rated: 4.38 by TP2MSU from Michigan

Jan 15, 2022
Photo of mschrei
Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 4 by BigIronH from Michigan

Jan 02, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by Luckydog91 from Texas

Dec 17, 2021
Rated: 4.27 by QuakeAttack from California

Oct 01, 2021
Rated: 4.37 by Taenim from New Jersey

Sep 20, 2021
Rated: 4.24 by SViterileroux74 from Texas

Aug 15, 2021
Photo of Pegasus
Reviewed by Pegasus from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Reviewed by chitoryu12 from Florida

3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
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
Rated: 5 by aucanuck from Georgia

Jun 13, 2021
Photo of jbertsch
Reviewed by jbertsch from Massachusetts

3.87/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
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
Rated: 4.32 by jak from North Carolina

May 28, 2021
Photo of trevormajor
Reviewed by trevormajor from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +3.3%
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
Rated: 3.83 by mcplant from New York

Apr 06, 2021
Rated: 4.59 by BMBCLT from South Carolina

Feb 28, 2021
Rated: 4.87 by Sinister from New York

Feb 21, 2021
Photo of TheRougeBastard
Reviewed by TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

5/5  rDev +16.3%
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
Reviewed by Nass from Florida

4.3/5  rDev 0%
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
Rated: 4.34 by o29 from Texas

Jan 12, 2021
Rated: 4.36 by Jonathan-Morgan from Florida

Jan 11, 2021
Photo of imnodoctorbut
Reviewed by imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
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

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
Reviewed by Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
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
Rated: 4.58 by Davideo from Texas

Dec 16, 2020
Rated: 4.18 by kramacam from Kentucky

Nov 20, 2020
Photo of Freonicus
Reviewed by Freonicus from Tennessee

3.43/5  rDev -20.2%
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
Photo of Rug
Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
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
Rated: 4.34 by HardyA34 from Michigan

Nov 01, 2020
Rated: 4.54 by TomBanahan from Kentucky

Oct 21, 2020
Rated: 3.76 by RochefortChris from North Carolina

Oct 10, 2020
Rated: 4.33 by d5001986 from Wisconsin

Oct 02, 2020
Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 1833 ratings