Curmudgeon's Better Half | Founders Brewing Company

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Curmudgeon's Better HalfCurmudgeon's Better Half
1,491 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: 1,491 |  Reviews: 426
Photo of BB1313
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 8/21/18. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a glowing amber with a subtle haze but still has some clarity to it; fluffy off-white head that falls leaving great retention and nice lacing. The aromas have lots of caramel leading the way along with some toffee. Subtle hints of vanilla and coconut. Lots of sweet malts. The bourbon is pretty mild in the aroma department. The aromas are pretty bold. More caramel leading the way. The maple is shining as well. It's obviously on the sweeter side, but it's not cloying or over the top. Some cherries. More vanilla along with some mild coconut notes. The bourbon is balanced and accentuates everything that's going on. It's slightly sticky. Strong malt backbone. Mild warmth in the finish, but the alcohol is ultimately well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's very fluffy, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a really nice brew. Nice flavors. The maple really comes through. The craftsmanship is on point. Once again, the alcohol is well hidden. It's very enjoyable and fun to drink. Well done.

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Photo of scotorum
4.7/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75


Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Clear copper with an inch thick offwhite head which receded to thick surface foam and dense lacing.

s; Mainly whiskey

t; Follows the nose over a supple caramel malt base along with some alcohol mouth and throat burn which dissipates later. Sweet fiinish include clear maple syrup notes.

m; Solid medium to full, very good body and considerable carbonation tingle.

o; Just as advertised, a powerful (12.7%) and sweet bourbon/maply-tasting brew. Worth the premium (seen for $17-$18.50/64 oz.) and a much better buy as such than their legendary CBS. I'll be looking for more of this to put in my regular nightcap rotation.

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

Always find it hard to rate barrel aged versions of brews I already really, really like. I mean, how much better can it be? Didn’t particularly notice the maple syrup aspect, but this was just a little bit tastier, warmer, more complex than the excellent original. Founders ALWAYS impresses, period.

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Photo of NeilSilber1
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark black with frothy head, strong notes of stout and bourbon, slightly sweat and heavy alcohol sneaks up.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.85/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Bottle nabbed as part of a 4 pack at Goebel Liquor in Wichita, Kansas. 12 fl oz. Standard pry-off crown cap. Classic label art.

"Old ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels." 12.7% ABV. 2018 vintage (bottled 08/27/18).

APPEARANCE: ~2.5cm head height. Off-white head recedes fully within 2 minutes (which is pretty good given the 12.7% ABV).

Body colour is a deep copper. Clear/seemingly filtered. Could be more vibrant. I expected a darker colour in a bourbon barrel aged old ale.

AROMA: Caramel, toffee, chewy molasses, subdued oak, supple maple, pale malt sweetness. Port-like sweet wine grape.

Not finding any brettanomyces. The bourbon barrel notes could definitely be more forward.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Chewy and molasses-emphatic, bringing heavy syrupy sweetness and a huge full-bodied texture. Bourbon barrel notes are very faint...I don't get any rich white oak, coconut, or the like.

Pale malt sweetness lends this its malty core. Scintillae of grape towards the back end.

I do find it sweet, but it's not cloying or saccharine. Sweetness covers up any overt alcohol, which is something of a feat in a 12.7% ABV.

Smooth, wet, heavy, sticky. The syrupy mouthfeel is tough to get used to, but I think it serves the sweetness well.

I guess I expected a maple bourbon barrel aged beer that really committed to vivid maple and bourbon, but this falls short. Compares unfavorably to, say, CBS, in that regard. This fails to hit the mark for me both in terms of the barrel notes, and since I did dig Curmudgeon I'm wondering what happened.

OVERALL: It's not a chore to drink, but it's not a beer you'd split a pitcher of with friends either. One bottle is plenty in a single sitting for me. I don't find it as worthwhile as other barrel aged beers in Founders' lineup (namely CBS, KBS, and Backwoods Bastard), but I'm glad I got to try it even if I'd sooner reach for a 4 pack of North Coast's Old Stock Ale. Those hoping for a bourbon barrel-emphatic old ale will find this something of a letdown.


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


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Photo of sgregory
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ichorNet
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am very pumped to have a glass of this in front of me, so let me just get that out of the way. I know I'm a biiiit late to the party on this one, but it's great to finally give this a sip. It's been a long time since I've had Old Curmudgeon, but I recall enjoying it the few times I've had it (on tap at Armsby Abbey probably four or so years ago is my last recollection of said beer).

The pour here is gorgeous, as expected. A deep, garnet-colored beer with beautiful translucence and a thin, fuzzy head of off-white bubbles. Though the beer looks very close to still, I can detect very infrequent bubbles rising to the surface. And, regardless, an old ale shouldn't be overly-carbonated anyway. In my opinion, this looks just the way it should. And did I mention that superb hue? Damn!

The nose is all maple syrup, caramel malts, toasted bread and molasses with a very quick flash of bourbon barrel heat to round it out. Smells just decadent, really. Very sweet and malty, as it should be. There's a figment of dark fruit here, as well, for sure, but it's really very subtle and mostly buried by the barrel character. That being said, I don't think this smells hot at all, especially since it clocks in at almost 13% ABV. Yikes! This is a wonderfully flavored beer... each sip leaves me gobsmacked at the depth of the palate here. Pure grade A maple syrup in a luscious dance with deep crème brûlée-like notes and toasted marshmallow sweetness. Very rich and full-bodied with a rather intense heat compared to the nose. A bit of date and fig with molasses depth and breadiness. Very clean; not a lot of esters or phenols at all... loving the subtle earthy hop note as well. Just feels extremely well-balanced and well-crafted. Slight, stiff bitterness in the finish with some woodiness and tannins from the barrel aging. Oaky warmth and toffee with some notes of roasted nuts and more dark fruitiness. Bready and chewy, for sure, but not incredibly thick. It's more playful than anything, this Curmudgeon is... and the intense variety of malty and sweet flavors will have you enjoying the entire glass to the last drop if you're anything like me.

A hearty, enjoyable old ale with a twist. Think I'll grab some more! As an added bonus, I think this is one of the only Founders BA releases that I've thought was great on the fresher side. Dankwood, for example, needed a few months to calm down and come into its own... the maple aspect here definitely changes things, I think. Great stuff!

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Photo of cherche
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of kkazemi
3.99/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DeaconWhite82
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a half growler, was not cheap, but well worth the price. Nice color with some lacing. Smell is heavy bourbon. You first taste bourbon yet goes down smooth. Nice after taste that lingers just long enough. Really good beer

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Photo of beergoot
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tawny copper body; dense, sticky, creamy head. Boozy, malty, fruity aroma; figs and dried apricots; bourbon; some mild caramel sweetness. Heavy sweetness, full of maple and booze; caramel; some phenolic notes; figs and dates. Heavy body; chewy with a thick oiliness; some alcohol warmth and dryness but some residual sugar sweetness as well.

This is one heavy hitting beer, oozing booze and warm sweetness. Incredible depth and complexity of fla vor and mouthfeel abound with each sip. One awesome cold weather beer, perfect on a snowy day with a wood fire burning in the background and professional football on the TV.

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Photo of Samlover55
3.81/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into tulip
Bottled on 8/13/18
Pours a clear deep red, with thin white head
Maple syrup and bourbon
Taste is sweet medicinal make syrup, some hop bitterness,  with a touch of booze
Feel is odd as it is thin bodied,  but has the make up of a sipper with the high ABV
Overall a unique and interesting beer, but overall not so impressive to me

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Photo of akopczyk
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brianito
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of PrynneCabin
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of StoutSnob40
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Beautiful, glowing ruby-red color, with a soapy off-white head that actually sticks around longer than I would have though. Not picking up a lot of maple, but between the old ale and the barrel, it's a vanilla, toffee and coconut beast. Fun beer, for sure.

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Photo of MinerBob
3.56/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of muchos
4.77/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L. Hazy mahogany with a creamy French vanilla head which recedes slowly and leaves a healthy lacing.
S. Smells sweet with dark brown sugar and maple. Nutty, spicy, caramely, boozy, vanilla, dates, sweet malts. Smells delicious.
T. Flavors are grand. Malty, nutty, caramel, dates and figs, vanilla, maple, bourbon, spicy, boozy. Some bitter oak as it warms. This tastes luxurious.
F. Full bodied and smooth. Low carbonation. Boozy but not unpleasant, warming in the end.
O. Big flavor and delicious. Fantastic. It is quite sweet, but that's what I'm in to. There are a lot of flavors going on and it works nicely. Cheers!

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Photo of _Adam_
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Avatar113
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mike22ne
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really nice!
Lots of vanilla, caramel, maple and brown sugar in the aroma and flavor.
Full, creamy smooth body.

Excellent, unique beer, glad I could find it!

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

Photo of sjrider
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a not quite clear mahogany color with an off white head quickly dissipating into a ring of bubbly lacing. Nose is mild sweetness ,faint malt and wood. Taste follows with hints of molasses ,oak and bourbon. This is a lot milder and a bit sweeter than I expected, a really well done BA old ale. Ranks right up there with Backwoods Bastard, just a bit more subdued.

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Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.31 out of 5 with 1,491 ratings