Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by Jason on 01-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
234
Ratings:
970
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
10.93%
 
 
Wants:
424
Gots:
359
For Trade:
14
User Reviews
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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 970
Photo of ShanePB
4.17/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle shared by a friend
Served into a chalice glass

A: Mahogany copper body certainly on the lighter side of things. Admittedly, this isn't as dark as I was expecting for some reason. A thin off-white head forms and eventually settles out into a foamy ring. Nice patches of lacing on the walls, too.

S: Extremely sweet malts and maple syrup are first to hit the nose. Bourbon and oak wood come through, along with some hints of vanilla and toffee. Wow does that smell enticing and very rich.

T: Whoa, incredibly sweet almost to the point of being too cloying. But it's good. Sweet maple syrup dominates the flavor profile from the beginning to end. The bourbon does come through on the back end along with the barrel, but I still think it's swallowed by the maple. A bit of sweet toffee and caramel, but those are simply afterthoughts.

M: Nicely carbonated, not overdone giving this a very full mouth feel. It tastes like it's going to be very syrupy but the lively carbonation breaks it up, and keeps it from being sticky.

Talk about a sipping beer. This is certainly one to sit and savor. The overall sweetness may be a bit too much for some but the flavors it gives off are really wonderful. Too sweet? It's debatable, perhaps but a very nice drink to be sure.

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Photo of JizackFH
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review #600

A - This beer pours a nice mahogany red color that glows when held to the light. There is a little more than a finger of slightly off-white head resting on top. The head has pretty good retention, and it leaves behind just a few specs of lace on the glass.

S –The nose is of maple syrup and bourbon aromas. There is some roasted malt, as well as a nice amount of dark fruits. I am getting some Raisin, Fig, plum, and some cherry. There are also some aromas of caramel, candied sugar, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, and some booze. It is a very complex and delightful nose.

T – The taste follows the nose. It starts off with some sweet caramel and dark fruit flavors. I am tasting plum, fig, and raisin. There is definitely some sweet maple syrup flavor coming through. Also, I am getting some caramel, toffee, molasses, and vanilla. There is a very mild hop presence here as well. There is a little bit of booziness in the taste, but it tastes no where near 11.9%. In the finish all the flavors seem to come through and linger for a moment or two. There are a lot of flavors going on here, very complex.

M – This has a medium body and lower carbonation. It goes down easy and has a smooth rich feel to it. There is also a bit of a chewy quality to it. There is a big sweetness here, but there is some balance to it from a mild hop presence and maybe a little roasted malt. There is some boozy warmth in the finish that slightly warms all the way down to your belly. I think this is a perfect feel for this beer.

O – This has awesome drinkability. It is definitely a sipper, but it is just delicious and hard to put down. It is a big malty sweet slightly boozy wonderful old ale. Overall, it is just an awesome beer, and an excellent example of this style. This is just a nearly perfect beer for me. I highly recommend trying it if you find it. I really wish I would have been able to find another bottle so I could share it with people that couldn’t find one. I will definitely but this again If I get the chance.

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Photo of KevSal
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ive really been looking forward to this one since hearing about the kaiser. another big thanks to dblab, man really appreciate it buddy!

750ml shared with my better half into 2 eclipse snifters.

a- wow this guy comes out super light, for some reason i was expecting something darker like a ba barelwine. this one appears thick. looks a lot like a big regular barleywine, deep copper yellowish/orange. very thin head that dissappears in seconds.

s- awesome! huge maple bourbon up front, toffee , lots of sweetness with slight alch in the finish. definitly good stuff here.

t-follows the nose with a good amount of the base beer coming through. nice maple throughout with a some bitterness coming through as too, not sure from what exactly. slight alch on the finish, right amount for me.

m- thick body, well carbonated (maybe a bit too much) but not sticky as it appears to be.

o- very good beer, glad i got to try it, this one taste like it will age magnificently, i think i have what im drinking next valentines day! my lady made her to glasses dissappear like it was water.
the maple syrup really adds another level on this one, and sets it apart from others in this style (ba4d and afam ftw)

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Photo of MDDMD
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-golden brown color with a small off-white head which dissipates with some lacing

S-fruit and molasses with hints of bourbon and vanilla

T-a delicious mixture of dried fruits, brown sugar, malts, vanilla, and bourbon

F-medium to full body with light carbonation, smooth and boozy, but well-balanced

O-a delicious complex ale with great flavor and balance, one to savor

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really did not expect to see the color I did. For some reason, I expected a dark opaque stout-like color. This has a beautiful deep amber color with about a a finger of somewhat sticky white head. It is rather transparent as well. Smells strong of bourbon, maple, vanilla and caramel. Some molasses is detected in the nose. Upon tasting, I was really surprised at how sweet it is. Bourbon seems to dominate along with vanilla and maple. Hotness from the alcohol is noticeable. The body is moderate and it is lightly carbonated. I feel it could be a little heavier. Overall, this was very good. You really can't go wrong with anything by Founder's that is barrel aged. The sweetness may become tiring after a while. I wonder if this might be better bottled in a 12 oz. I'm glad I got to try it and I was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Thanks to Teresa's for offering this on tap!

Served in a tulip glass, a slightly hazy mahogany brown color, with a small cap of ivory head that dissipated mostly but left some very nice lacing on the glass. Aroma was pretty boozy, with obvious notes of dark sugars and dark dried fruits, woody and leafy afterthoughts. Tasted delicious...brown sugar, molasses, maple, quite boozy, but not really a distinctive bourbon profile until it was allowed to get a bit warmer; raisins, figs, worty malts, with touches of vanilla and licorice. Very complex and tasty, quite smooth, and more so at a warmer temp; alcohol is obvious, but it doesn't detract from the smoothness. Full bodied, and very drinkable. I had no problem ordering another.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.87/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Florida9 for helping me out with this one.

A: pours a light clear golden, almost no head, minimal lacing

S: nose is big on the molasses along with vanilla, and bourbon, not picking up much maple on the nose

T: sugary and sweet at the beginning, a bit of boozy heat comes in, Creme brûlée character in there as well, maple is minimal. This tastes like a different beer than kaiser curmudgeon

Mf: thick syrupy body, low carb

O: this is suPer sweet and lacks the deliciousness that I recall from kaiser curmudgeon. Not getting a lot of maple at all.

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Photo of Duff27
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Short lived tan head on a light ruby red body. Leaves a collar throughout. Thick alcohol legs.

Love the smell. Candied bourbon notes.

Candy, caramel. Can definitely taste the maple syrup barrels. Leaves a solid bourbony taste that makes me loopy.

Full mouthfeel, lower end of carbonation.

Big fan of this one. Maple syrup was very present, even more so than in CBS. A good one to take down with a few friends. Worth following distribution trucks around for...not!

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Photo of Dope
4.51/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A beautiful dark ruby pour with a huge, dense off-white head atop it. The retention is so good it takes a good 5 minutes for it to recede an inch. Almost annoying because I want to try it! Leaves a solid wall of lacing. Perfect.

S: Loaded with bourbon. Sweet molasses, brown sugar, caramel and oaky vanilla. Hint of dark fruit like raisin and perhaps figs. Maybe a touch of maple but it could be my imagination.

T: Whoa, there's the maple up front and throughout the beer. A wonderful mix of maple syrup and bourbon notes. Molasses, caramel, brown sugar and oak. Maybe a bit of toffee. Super malty - sweet but not cloying, the bourbon helps cut it down a bit.

M: Not as heavy as you might think for an 11.9% beer. It's definitely got some weight to it but it's not syrupy. Carbonation is dead on. Very smooth.

O: It's VERY heavy on the bourbon and the maple flavors are quite strong too. Sweet as can be but what would you expect from a maple syrup bourbon barrel old ale? The flavors compliment each other nicely and nothing is too overpowering. What a great beer, there's nothing else quite like it out there.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Big Hunt on President's Day. Served in a something or other; I shamefully didn't write that part down. Glassware fail. Let's pretend it was in my Founders tulip.

Pours a fairly-dark caramel-copper color with a bit of an off-white head and some spotty lacing on the way down. The nose brings forward some really nice maple notes along with some toffee and caramel. The background has a bit of bourbon, oak, and vanilla with some butterscotch thrown in for good measure. For whatever reason, I also got notes of caramelized banana. Either way, it was awesome, so let's roll with that.

The flavor certainly didn't fall off. Great maple and barrel notes with sweet caramel and a touch of fruit. Brown sugar there as well. Caramelized banana yet again. I can't get away from that. Medium-full body with a slick texture and nice carbonation. Just a touch of warming booze. Founders strikes again. One of America's beer champions.

EDIT:

Original review of the first batch of Founders Kaiser Curmudgeon:

Pours bright ruby with a nice white dad and lacing. Nose is a bit rich. Caramel and fried banana are the initial scents. Slight sweetness. Taste is quite sweet. Caramel and candied fruits. Slight banana. Mouthfeel is rich and only slightly hot. This will age very nicely.

4.5 / 4.0 / 4.5 / 4.0 / 4.0 (September 4, 2010)

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.36/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Better Half, bottle bought at Whole Foods Chelsea in NYC for $15.99.

"Old Ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels"

Adorable-naive label, with the loving Curmudgeon's wife making an appearance (the man remains impassive and rather grouchy). I sense a divorce, or separate beds for the rest of their lives. Maybe this beer is just too sweet for the old fart?

Appearance: Served in my Lost Abbey snifter, my assertive pour produced a classic snow-capped one-finger head that dies rather soon, leaving only a mantle and serious lacing. Better Half looks like an old ale indeed (or a better barleywine), with a mysterious, slightly shiny amber color that almost begs to have one of those million-year-old flies encased inside.

Smell: Huh... scrambling to sniff *anything at all*. Alright, there is some cookie dough, banana bread, brown sugar and bourbon at the end. Crushed raisin and fruitiness. Suck on that sweeeet toffee! As it warms up, it becomes sweeter and more bourbony, with wood and cat-litter dust at the end.

Taste: If you love bourbon (and I do), you'll love this. Reminds me of drinking Evan Williams 2001. Booze, fire, tad of smoke. White chocolate, "tarta al whisky", rum-soaked bread, then cookies and more fire. SWEET AND HOT! Liquid caramel. At the end, I feel like I'm swimming in bourbon and sliding down a barrel. Can you say unbalanced?

Mouthfeel: A little thin for such a monster. It feels weak in the mouth, then goes down with intense dryness and outrageous heat plus a nice touch of bourbon.

Overall: This has got to be one of the sweetest, booziest, most unbalanced brews EVER. Didn't enjoy the Kaiser on tap, and this is no better. I love bourbon and sweet beers (hello CBS!) but this just ain't right.

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Photo of emerge077
4.12/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft, served in a small goblet that held 10 oz. at most.

Copper color, transparent when held to the light. A cirrus skim melted across the surface, looking like a smudged melting marshmallow. Some lingering webs of lace stuck around the edges.

Pungent bourbon aromas of toasted coconut, vanilla and brown sugar. Slightly sweet with a little hint of maple woodiness.

Tasted similar, some mellow oaky traces dried things out, along with some caramel flavor and maraschino juice astringency from the alcohol... Big on the vanilla/brown sugar/maple combo with a significant alcohol presence from the barrel. Lingering bourbon traces in the aftertaste. It's well blended and fairly drinkable, medium bodied and sticky on the lips. Overall, it's worth trying or looking for, but not really worth any extra hoop-jumping to buy a bottle.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle. Out of my CBS snifter.

A- A bright reddish amber, on the darker side. Very clean and clear. A healthy off white head forms and reduces to a thin layer that retains. Light lacing.

S- Tons of sweet malt, caramel, and molassas. I get some touches of heat, as well as oaky maple bourbon. Pretty amazing.

T- Just buttery smooth, which is quickly followed by a hoppy punch. The caramel, bourbon, and oak then really go to work. Amazing complex, and just kind of dances across the tongue. Sweet, but not too sweet. I do get some touches of maple candy as well.

M- Amazing. Light on carbonation, but I feel it works perfect for this beer. The body and mouthfeel just have the perfect thickness.

O- Though very reminicent of Backwoods Bastard, this beer is a little different. I think the balance of body, barrel aging, and complexity, is quite amazing. Quite curious to see what this turns into with some age, as if it smooths out it will be euphoric.

-GFunk

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Photo of Hoppedup616
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to land this bottle, poured into a Great Lakes snifter.
Poured almost syrupy, this one really stuck to the glass. Molasses in color, and had a minimal off white head that left pretty quickly. Smell was extremely sweet, totally amazing. Carmel, bourbon, wood, slight maple, but more than CBS in more opinion. Whoa...this tastes incredible. Maple is more prominent in the taste, which I was fond of. Still very sweet, and had a very nice bourbon character. Alcohol was very well hidden, something Founders is really good at doing. The mouthfeel was also thick and syrupy, not that much carbonation, but I loved it. This beer was worth the wait. Haven't tried the original Curmudgeon, but it's next on my list. I look forward to enjoying this beer again.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my badass BA friend and neighbor, wesside89!

Pours a dark ruby color with less than a fingers worth of off-white head. There are clusters of spotty lace throughout.

The nose sweet and boozy. Caramel, toffee, butterscotch, maple, bourbon and booze come through in full effect. Very dessert-like and inviting.

The taste resembles what the nose has defined. There is an abundant amount of bourbon which is awesome. Intertwined is some flavors of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, booze, maple, and toffee. All of these flavors are pretty nicely balanced.

The mouthfeel is what i love the most about this brew. It is velvety smooth and luxurious, bold and ambitious. There is a hefty, big-bodied liquid that is creamy with low carbonation.

Overall, again, another home run from Founders. Beastly brew with massive scent, flavor, and a great, comfortable mouthfeel. Seek and Destroy

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Photo of KAP1356
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My wonderful girlfriend got me a bottle of this for Valentine's day! I have had Kaiser Curmudgeon before on draft, so I am pretty pumped to see how this bottle version compares. Poured into a white wine glass (best thing that was available)...

A - Poured a really nice amberish-copper color that is slightly cliudy. There is some glow around the edges when held to the light producing a nice dark gold color. Frothy head, about 1.5 fingers thick, leaves nice lacing along the glass.

S - Sweet notes of brown sugar, toffee, molasses, caramel, bourbon and vanilla right out front. Some digging brings out some sugary, sweet fruits like raisins, some oak, and maple. There is also a slight nuttiness I am picking up on. Sweet, but not the sugar bomb I thought KC to be. Ever so slight alcohol hit at the end.

T - Sweet caramel and toffee flavors right away mixed with bourbon and vanilla. Sweet malts come next with a nice tough of maple. The maple isn't as prominant as I thought it would be, but I actually like the level it is integrated. Raisins, buttery brown sugar and oak come out as well only enhancing this already awesome flavor profile.

M - Rich and smooth with a medium to full bodied beer. I think the richness makes it feel fuller than it is. Creamy with a light carbonation.

O - Well, I must say that the sweetness overload that I experienced with Kaiser Curmudgeon was nicely in check here. I really enjoyed this version much better and was more than able to get through the 750 ml bottle by myself. Another example as to why Founders is my favorite brewery and why I feel they are the kings of barrel aged beers.

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Photo of pschul4
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got the last bottle from my beer store so I'm feelin pretty lucky

A- Pours much lighter than I was expecting from a barrel aged beer but given that it's an old ale it stands to reason to be lighter

S- Very sweet maple syrup scent coming from this one with some background bourbon. These two scents dominate everything and not much else comes off this beer

T- Subtle maple syrup notes with big bourbon flavors and some background maltiness, much more complex than the scent and overall absolutely delicious

M- Super smooth with low carbonation, not chewy but quite thick

O- I loved this beer, is it CBS? no, but it's not a huge step back from that

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle picked up locally. pretty sure this was billed as Kaiser Curmudgeon at one point in time. i had that on tap at rattle n hum at a founder's event and was blown away...here's hoping this is it.

a - filled my cbs snifter. poured a ruby chestnut that was semi-transparent. nice frothy thick head that left big streaks of lacing on my swirled glass.

s - strong sweet maple syrup. brown sugar to the max. definitely has that same old curmudgeon crossed with backwoods that i picked up in the draft version, but way more maple. sweet potpouri.

t - wonderful sweet caramel brown sugar. the barrel and maple syrup really take the old ale on a wild ride. this is the treatment that was needed for this beer. really well blended. if anything, a bit sweet, but super palatable. dare i say that this might be better than BB4D.

m - extremely smooth and easy to drink for the intense booze and sweetness that you'd expect.

o - overall, this is amazing. founders does it again. this was the sleeper as kaiser curmudgeon and a treat. i had heard black biscuit would be next, but super pumped for this one. glad it fell a bit under the radar for these releases...at least wasn't as crazy as CBS. a winner and a half. fantastic brew. as world class as BB4D...and the only old ale that should be mentioned in the same breathe.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.07/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At the time of this review, this beer is the #9 beer on the "Top Beers - Old Ale" list on beeradvocate.com. I'm not sure how this beer is different than Kaiser Curmudgeon but it apparently is in a way that I am unaware of. On tap at the Big Hunt in DC, served in a 10 ounce tumbler. Beer is amber and slightly hazy with a lazy head of small off white bubbles, some lacing but low retention and carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, bourbon, boozy, malt, strong.

Beer is thin up front with minimal syrup notes sneaking through, giving it a strong almost drying finish, this beer again is about as sweet as a beer can be and still be considered a beer. If not for the 12% alcohol, the gravity on this thing would be through the roof. If you like big booze and palate wrecking levels of flavor, this beer is for you. Decent but too sweet.

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Photo of BelgianBeerHog26
4.82/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is fantastic. Has a great flavor from start to finish. Very unique.

I had this beer at three penny taproom in VT.

A: Beer is an amber / red hue. Slightly cloudy.

S : has a strong carmel coffee smell.

T: This beer starts off with a carmel chocolate flavor. Middle is a mild coffee. Finishes with a smooth whiskey, maple and oak flavor.

M: Medium body feel, not overly viscous but has a nice feel.

O: this beer is one the best I have had while in VT. This is pretty tough to beat. I would compare this to a maple stout in sweetness, but it finishes with a smooth carmel ethanol flavor. It is overall a fantastic beer.

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Photo of ryantho00
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter.

This brew's carbonation is just wonderful, you get a nice ecru off white foam that laces the glass throughout. This has a nice auburn brownish hue that is consistent throughout.

I get sweet malts and caramel in the first whiff and then some slight bourbon with coffee tones.

Boy oh boy, this beer is just AWESOME! I get a nice sweetness from the malts and chocolate and caramel, coffee, espresso, and frosting. It has a medium body,and is sweet throughout, but most defiantly drinkable and the alcohol is well masked as ALWAYS founders are masters at balancing beers PERFECTLY. IF YOU CAN FIND THIS BUY ONE!

Very nice sweet, malty brew done by the masters at Founders.

Cheers!

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Photo of RollingFiveSixes
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You don't even need to review this beer to know it's going to be astounding. Founder's lives up to it's name with this ale.

***Recommend serving at room tempature.

~Appearance is a beautiful dark violet red below a creamy tan head that sits for a while.

~Aroma consists of soft bourbon, vanilla cream, molasses syrup and slight alcohol.

~Tastes likie it smells but with greater force. Heavy maple syrup mouthfeel leads to vanilla-bourbon cream, mild carbination and a sweet oak finish.

~Overall, god damn it's a good beer, but not for the yuppies.

Wonder how it will tastes with a few years behind it???

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Photo of ferrari29
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a stemmed Stella Artois tulip-shaped glass

A - Beer pours with a dark brown colored body; opaque; small amount of head, creme colored; no visible carbonation; floating yeast sediment remained in the beer, stood still in the beer, never moved giving the beer a jelly-like look; viscous;l good amount of lacing left behind

S - Heavy bourbon nose; brown sugar; roasted malt nose; very high ABV aromas; rich maple syrup sweetness; molasses; wood, like oak

T - Maple syrup taste; heavy and rich bourbon flavor; creamy vanilla bean; jam and molasses; brown sugar; sip finishes off with a sweet burned caramel taste, coupled with a high ABV flavor; oak

M - Thick consistency; slightly chewy; some carbonation; lingering brown sugar flavor

D - Good beer; seems to be a mash of different brew styles put together in a bourbon barrel; with no real distinct flavor profile, the brewers did a good job of trying something new and "out-of-the-box"; I really like this beer

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to BBP for this bottle. Poured in to CBS snifter.

A - Medium ruby/brown with a big glow around the edges. One finger of bubbly cream-coloured head formed and quickly receded to a few large bubbles around the edges of the glass. Decent lacing.

S - Sweet caramel, raisins, bourbon, vanilla, toffee. Not specifically getting any maple syrup but there is a big overall sweetness. Very complex.

T - A big hit of bourbon up front with vanilla and oak flavours. The barrel aging characteristics definitely dominate the base beer flavours but hey are still present - contributing some toffee, brown sugar, dark caramel and raisin flavours. The alcohol is noticeable but not distracting. The maple syrup shows up in the finish, adding a nice sweetness.

M - Medium to full body, creamy. So smooth and silky. Light carbonation.

O - An excellent beer. Was really happy that I got chance to try this one.

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Photo of jegross2
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing the Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company. This is the third beer in the 750 ml bottle Backstage Series release, the other two being Blushing Monk and Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). This beer used to be know as "Kaiser Curmudgeon," but Founders recently re-branded it. I believe that Founders' Old Curmudgeon, an absolutely divine old ale, is the base beer for this one.
Score: 95

February 2012 vintage bottle served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 02/18/12 with a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber/mahogany color with a layer of yellow highlights atop the beer. A finger and a half of off-white/tan sea foam head at pour settles into a very thin ring around the glass. Excellent lacing, excellent retention. The lacing gradually changes from frothy to oily as it warms. 4.5/5

Smell: Brown sugar, vanilla, sweet raisin/fig, creamy malt, molasses and a little caramel-infused alcohol ester. There is a very light straight bourbon aroma. Hint of oak, hint of citrus and a little spice too. 4.5/5

Taste: Very smooth, balanced and complex. Tons of sweet maple and sweet vanilla upfront. Bourbon malt (caramel?), caramelized brown sugar, molasses/pancake syrup and chewy bourbon soaked raisins on the midpalate. Very faint oak on the midpalate too. A little alcohol warmth, but not nearly as much as you'd expect from a 12% ABV beer. This brew finishes and lingers with sweet maple/pancake syrup and caramel/bourbon malt. As it warms, a straight bourbon flavor comes out on the midpalate and towards the finish. Pairs excellently with the pancakes. 4.5/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, minimal carbonation. Smooth/creamy mouthfeel with a little alcohol prickliness. Sweet and slightly sticky finish. 4/5

Overall: A superior barrel aged beer. Founders, the midwest's best brewery, makes a few better beers than this one, and it's not quite up to par with CBS, but Curmudgeon's Better Half is a beer that is absolutely worth seeking out. Sweet (though I have had sweeter), drinkable, and loaded with complex flavor. Is it worth the $18 price tag? Absolutely. However, you can get several equally good beers, such as Oak Aged Yeti, cheaper and easier. I cannot wait for Founders to package and sell the Cashew Mountain Brown.

Recommendation: Seek this brew out, but be forewarned -- this one is on the sweeter side (though I have had plenty of sweeter beers).

Pairings: Chocolate chip pancakes.

Cost: $17.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 234 ratings.
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