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
foundersbrewing.com

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
Ratings:
979
Reviews:
237
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
10.93%
 
 
Wants:
423
Gots:
355
For Trade:
13
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 979 |  Reviews: 237
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of oline73
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish amber color with a half finger of off white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the pour.

Smell: Sweet malt with some brown sugar notes. Some maple syrup along with some alcohol heat.

Taste: Sweet malt with some dark fruit notes along with some alcohol heat. I love the maple syrup notes. I'm getting some mild coconut along with a bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The body is a bit syrupy with smooth carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: Big fan of this one. Just enough bitterness so the malt isn't overpowering. The maple and coconut notes were wonderful. I'd definitely have this one again.

 697 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a small head that quickly fades to a ringlet; leaving a paucity of lacing action

Smell: The scent of oak, molasses and maple dominate though there is quite a sting on the nose from the ABV

Taste: Maple flavor up front, with the oak, molasses and booze adding character by mid-palate; leathery caramel in the middle, but the finish is oaky and dry but rather sweet in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with gentle carbonation; perfect for the style

Overall: This is one of those beers that will clearly improve with age; drinks nicely now, but I suspect that I would enjoy the impact a year or two would have on this beer

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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.

Strong 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.

 838 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -7%

Bottle: Poured a hazy light dirty brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet sugary notes with some vanilla and bourbon notes clearly identifiable. Taste is a mix of heavy caramelized malt notes with quite a dose of residual sugars and molasses with some vanilla and bourbon also noticeable. Body is quite full with medium carbonation with some wearing alcohol easily identifiable. Interesting experience for sure but maybe a bit too sweet for my taste.

 514 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, tan head of bubbly foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, maple and some strong bourbon notes. Mild vanilla and oak aromas, too.

T - It tasted of bourbon and maple with a toffee backbone. There are mild oak flavors, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This is a really unique beer. I liked the maple flavors. Another great rare beer from Founders.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dyan sent this one. Thanks! I included this beer in a blind tasting where it was sampled alongside King Henry, Mother of All Storms, Sucaba, Arctic Devil and Karl Strauss 23rd Anniversary.

Better Half pours a light shade of amber, decidedly lighter than I'd expect for an old ale (whatever that means by today's brewing standards). The head is thin and recedes quickly. The nose is sugary sweet, heavy on caramel malt flavors. Pleasantly barrel forward, though not as maple syrupy heavy as I was expecting; bourbon seems more dominant. The palate is similar, showcasing sticky, sweet pale and caramel malt flavors that are backed by even more sweetness from the maple syrup bourbon barrel. As the nose implies, there's more bourbon than maple syrup here, though I do get a nice maple undertone. The body feels a bit thin to me, and the finish is more dry than expected, and slightly astringent. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, which is certainly impressive given the 11.9% ABV. Quite good overall, but not a total knock-out like CBS.

 1,033 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1300th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in 2/2012. Pours lightly hazy ruby red color with a 1 finger dense cream colored head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lasts. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, maple syrup, bourbon, raisin, fig, molasses, toast, toffee, brown sugar, herbal earthiness, oak, leather, pepper, light vanilla, and light coconut. Fantastic aromas with great complexity and balance of barrel character and malt notes; hardly any alcohol presence. Taste of big caramel, molasses, maple syrup, toast, toffee, bourbon, raisin, fig, vanilla, oak, pepper, herbal earthiness, leather, and light coconut. Lingering notes of caramel, maple syrup, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, fig, bourbon, vanilla, oak, pepper, leather, and herbal earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of robust malt flavor with well balanced barrel character; and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and thick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged old ale. Fantastic complexity and balance of malt and barrel flavors; and moderately smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable slow sipper.

 1,347 characters

Photo of mothman
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Andrew for sharing.

Pours a little white head. Color is an orange amber.

Aroma: lots of maple syrup and barrel flavors. Toffee, caramel, and lots of malts. A little mint. Bourbon and oak.

Taste: mimics the nose but there is a little less mint and more maple syrup. A little more sweet and malty. Nice barrel flavors.

Mouthfeel: warming and smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends sweet and syrupy.

Overall, a bit too sweet for me, but the flavors were good. The maple bourbon barrels were nice but they brought a mint flavor with it that I didn't like.

 597 characters

Photo of DrBier
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

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)

 1,335 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at EBF from keg.

Creamy small head, slightly hazy maple colored beer.

Nose sweet malts, brown sugar, molasses, light bourbon, barrel, vanilla, maple, raisin like fruits

Taste sweet! Raisin, brown sugar, maple, molasses, maple candy, hint of barrel and smoke even, vanilla, chewy malts, creamy, light booze, touch of bourbon, hint of esters, finish is a bit bitter and more booze, brown sugar and maple all linger for a while.

Mouth is rich full bodied, bit syrupy, decent carb, with some warming and almost tingly booze.

Overall delicious, but I think I remember the "Kaiser Carmudgeon" being a bit better, but that may have been my memory playing tricks on me.

 675 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -18.6%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

 777 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of mendvicdog
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Photo of billab914
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Dogfish snifter. It poured brown orange in color with a thin, sticky lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The maple syrup bourbon barrels really stand out in the aroma for me. I get some bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla mixing with the maple syrup sweetness. The malty sweetness in the base beer comes out as well, but the maple and bourbon steal the show for me. There is a lot of sweetness to it, but the flavors are good enough to pull it off.

The taste also shows some very good bourbon and maple flavors to it. The bourbon is very smooth with more of the maple and brown sugar sweetness showing up up front, with oak and vanilla coming out towards the finish. The taste feels more balanced than the aroma did with some bitterness towards the finish really helping in that department. Everything really comes together well in it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a little above average. Overall, I thought it was a very good beer. The bourbon and maple flavors were definitely the highlight and maybe even overshadowed the beer a little too much, but they were pretty great flavors. The flavors all really work together well. Really good beer overall.

 1,223 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a near clear, medium amber body with a modestly-sized, off-white head.

Smell: Sweetish, malt-forward notes scented of caramel candy, dark brown sugar, and maple featuring supporting scents of plum jelly and oak-tinged bourbon.

Taste: Flushed with a large upfront sweetness of caramelized sugars, brown sugars, and ardent traces of maple. Well-toasted maltiness. Bourbon percolated raisins, then, a bit of zested citrus with a small portion of bitterness and a warming alcohol presence. Nuances of oak wood. Sweetish, warm (though not hot) finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Superb. The standard-issue Curmudgeon was a really solid beer, so this just gives it a nice little barrel-aged bump.

 747 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Barcade, founders tap night

A - Low white head, poor retention and lace. Hazy ice tea body.

S - Maple syrup, brown sugar, scotch, vanilla, black cherry.

T - Caramel, coffee creamer, cherry concentrate, scotch, vanilla, vanilla wafers, lemon frosting.

M - About as smooth as you could ever ask for. Full, creamy body; but not syrupy.

O - Drinks like Scotch with an incredibly smooth, sweet honey finish.

 409 characters

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

Review from notes.

A: Pours brown with a small off-white head on top with some decent lacing that hangs on the sides for a while.

S: There was some maple, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, and bourbon all mixed together. On the sweet side, very inviting.

T: A nice blend of bourbon and maple. Brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, and some oak. It has a nice sweetness, but not over the top at al.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol hidden nicely.

O: One of my favorite Old Ales, probably because of the barrel aging. Would certainly drink again.

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 979 ratings.
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