Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
95
world-class
234 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 970
Photo of haazer
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great one at the Wealth of Riches.

A- The brew has a cider like appearance. Amber and copper in color, with a nice egg shell head. Constant carbonation flowing to the surface, and lacing on the glass as 99.9999% of Founder's beer's do.

S- The aroma was the weaker part of the beer. A bit of vanilla, and some caramel malt. Other than that pretty subdued for me.

T- The taste is no slouch what so ever though. Maple syrup, pancakes, and bready malt. It's incredibly how much this beer tastes like pancakes. There is some bourbon in the aftertaste with a hint of vanilla. The booze is entirely masked, not a trace.

M- Very smooth, full bodied beer with medium carbonation. My entire mouth is coated with this stuff.

O- Very, very good beer here. Suprisingly not cloying, as I think CBS is sweeter than this bad boy. This would be perfect to have with breakfast, or any time of day for that matter. Master class yet again from Founders.

 946 characters

Photo of bcostner1
4.42/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep, rich caramel brown/tan. Thin tan head. Looks pretty viscous as it pours.

S: Bourbon, vanilla, wood, booze, and some dark fruits maybe(?) Intoxicating aroma.

T: Upon first sip, bourbon definitely predominates with some wood in the mix too. Also get a nice melange of the following: caramelized sugar, brown sugar, dark fruits. As the beer warms, I'm getting more of a vanilla-maple-brown sugar combo and I am loving it. This is a very sweet beer to me and that may be offsetting to some people but all the different elements work extremely well together in my opinion.

M: A little on the syrupy/viscous side (which I guess is what you get when you age a beer in bourbon maple syrup barrels). The alcohol is definitely present and, combined with the viscosity, makes this a sipper for sure. I consumed the bomber in 2 parts myself.

Overall, a fantastic beer and one that I am extremely glad that I had the privilege of trying. I have one to age and am curious to see what some time does to this brew.

 1,011 characters

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= Poured amber- copper in color in color small head that was kind of tan in color. The head disappeared rather fast a little bit of spotty lacing. It's a really good looking beer.

S= As far as the nose is concerned the main notes are vanilla and bourbon are really strong and almost overpower the beer. The are some other notes in this beer like toffee and brown sugar that subtle but mainly the notes that stood out for me are the bourbon and vanilla.

T= In the taste the sweet caramel and toffee come out a little bit more but overall the bourbon is the main taste that comes out for me. I really do think that it overpowers the beer but you do get more of the sweet notes as a mentioned before like the toffee, caramel, and brown sugar.

M= Rich and Smooth. I think it is more of a full bodied beer because of the sweetness of the beer light in carbonation.

O= Overall, I would rate probably lower than most would because I didn't like all the bourbon in it. I'm glad I got to try it but probably wouldn't try it again unless it was on draft or something I'm going to trade some of my other bottles of this because maybe other people will enjoy it more than me and I'll get to try some stuff that I want to try.

 1,218 characters

Photo of TheDudeRules
4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Southampton fishbowl.

Toffee colored liquid. Holding it to the light it looks like a giant amber bulb. Creamy off white head. Dissipates pretty quickly. Lacing is nill.

Giant maple and toasted coconut nose. Divine. Vanilla. Faint alcohol. Bordering nail polish remover. Faint though.

Very thin in the mouth. Light to medium carbonation. Sweet. Caramel, toffee, and vanilla. Rounded out with some toasted coconut. Warming booze on the finish. I am drinking this on a completely empty stomach. It is warming my belly. The kids that huff glue for warmth should try this instead.

Very solid beer. Glad to have tried it.

 635 characters

Photo of mnphish
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in MPLS at Pracna on Main on 4/25/13. Reviewed from fresh memory and a few notes.

It pours a very appealing caramel orange with little to no head, relatively hazy, just a very bright and warming hue.

It smells of tamed down bourbon and maple, followed by oak, vanilla, brown sugar, booze, and sweet dry fruit. Very inviting.

The taste follows nicely with a huge malt body, and sweet sugar fruits. The maple and bourbon aren't perhaps as big and dominating as i'd like, although it allows for more base beer flavor. Very impressive.

Medium body, light carbonation, massive oak, and light warming. Although the consensus is that this beer is on the downslope, I think it's drinking fantastic now and I bet it still tastes amazing in a few years.

 754 characters

Photo of marvin213
4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The look isn't all that impressive, but I know this is a bad ass beer. It's translucent and a surprisingly light brown with even a yellowish tint. I respect the sediment floating all around--even on the first small pour--so perhaps I should replace "impressive" with "predictable." It must be that lighter old ale that confused me as I just casually expected yet another bourbon barrel, pitch black stout.

The nose definitely conjures up thoughts of Old Curmudgeon. It definitely has that sweeter molasses, maple syrup type feel to the aroma. The taste is pretty magnificent, as it embodies what big beers can be. It IS so much better than Old Curmudgeon, and it IS its "better half!" That syrupy sweet, sugary molasses mixed with that semi-bitter, almost chalky, sediment floating big Ol ale that George Washington would've drank really makes for the like the perfect coupling! A phenomenal concoction! That's what it is: a concoction.

I sort of understand (I'm not a brewer)--with these ingredients and the barrel aging and all--how this is a limited edition brew. As the market gets saturated with them, however, I must say that this one definitely meets and/or exceeds expectations. Cheers, and Go Heels!

 1,212 characters

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

Appearance is chestnut brown, with off-white head and nice lacing. There are visible carbonation bubbles similar to a soda.

Nose is a bunch of bourbon, burnt sugar, oak, vanilla, with a slight menthol.

Taste is initially alcohol, which blends into bourbon, buttery oak, vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and a bready aftertaste. I didn't get much of the maple syrup flavor, except for perhaps a faint, buttery sweetness.

Mouthfeel is a contrast of smoothness and medium carbonation.

Overall, I would like to be able to give it higher than a 4 for the $18 plus tax purchase price, and I suppose I could if I was more struck by the flavor. The flavors are bold. The alcohol is high. It is a beer that forces you to savor it. It is a memorable beer for sure; finely executed.

 772 characters

Photo of xenjoiii
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is a combination of sweet maple syrup, minor notes of bourbon and sugar; I think it smells like a plate of French toast avec bourbon. Extremely pleasant on the mouth; a little towards the heavy side, but not too heavy. The alcohol is completely masked, though it provides a warming sensation in the stomach. Now for the taste: if you have had Old Curmudgeon in the past, and are familiar with its strong oak presence, have no fear; the sweetness from the maple syrup, and the bourbon (along with the vanillaness that the bourbon brings) really balances out that "woody" flavor into a pleasant surprise. Is it worth seeking out? Yes. I think this beer deserves the same amount of hype that its predecessor received.

 723 characters

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

Served at cellar temp in a chimay goblet

A - pours a dark red-orange with minimal head, lots of sediment

S - smell is bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, and maple syrup with a strong malt backbone

T - Strong bourbon up front, followed by the sweetness of the maple syrup, all with malt underneath.

M - fairly thick, not much carbonation, pretty boozy, the abv definitely makes itself known.

O - another excellent offering from
founders, glad I split this one as doing a whole bomber myself would be a tall order.

 514 characters

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

 970 characters

Photo of yarnbomb
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%

Sexy. Delicious. Aggressive. Had several fresh bottles and aged a bottle for my anniversary (I'm the curmudgeon, he's the better half). Wish I could have some more.

 164 characters

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

Enjoyed in a New Belgium globe on 8/25/12.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with one finger of head that immediate pushes to the sides and creates a rim around the glass. Spotty lacing.

Smell: Strong bourbon aroma and maple sweetness dominate the nose. Really interesting aroma.

Taste: Bourbon right off the bat that is immediately smoothed out with a sweet maple syrup flavor. Nice caramel malts, a brown sugar undertone, and a touch of wood in the flavor. Finishes nice and smooth with the maple lingering.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with some boozy heat as it finishes.

Overall: The maple really worked for me, as I didn't find it too sweet. I could see some palates thinking it's too sweet. Bourbon gives another dimension that brings the whole beer together.

 771 characters

Photo of jtingue
4.08/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. Clear reddish brown. Pours with half a finger of head. No retention, but great alcohol feet.

Smell Sweet with molasses and maple syrup. Slightly fruity in the background with some berry notes. Some bourbon presence in the background as well.

Taste. Starts slightly bitter, surprising for how much aging it has been through. Sweetness starts to balance this out, and eventually takes over. It blooms in to full on maple syrup from a more subtle molasses flavor. THe finish is sweet, but with a lingering earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel. Nice thick body, low carbonation. A perfect sipper.

I was actually a bit disappointed with this one, but that says more about my expectations. For me it was too similar to Backwoods Bastard. The smell was a bit overpowering with sweetness, though I did not find this to be true in the taste.

 868 characters

Photo of jimmy82063
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First beer for my vacation!

A) Looking directly down in the glass this is a very nice amber brown with a thin head that quickly dissipates.

S) Bourbon, Maple and a bit of Vanilla

T) Bourbon is definitely up front, followed by the maple and molasses. Vanilla is also present. There is a nice spiciness as well.

M) Very smooth alchohol is very well hidden.

O) Great beer....wish I had another!

 396 characters

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

A sought after "whale" for me, obtained through a transaction involving an offshore bank which delivered a briefcase full of cash in $1 dollar bills.

It was consumed in my remote adirondack outpost, while the wood stove provided sufficient warmth to allow me to don a thin layer of thermal underwear

Presumably cellared properly by the previous owner in the Witness Protection Program

A- dark amber, two finger head. Particulate matter, which seems a bit soon for this vintage

S-alcohol, orange rind, figs, malty sticky sweetness

T-bourbon sweet malty, touch of leather , a candied orange wedge in her clenched teeth. Whip in hand.

M- smooth, evervescent, small burning on my palate as she forces me submit.

O- very good, but wish it was more. I probably missed the maple barrel taste and the brew has not reached historic status yet. Perhaps I should have waited, but as the Better Half's whip is not so gently applied to my m cerebral cortex, I give in. I had a well aged Curmudgeon that was probably equally good. Sometimes the search for a whale ends quietly.

 1,072 characters

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

On Tap at Cloverleaf in Caldwell, NJ poured into a snifter.

Appearance: a clearer amber color with a off white fingers worth of head that leaves beautiful lacing.

Smells: a big bourbon note with sweet vanilla and hint of toffee rounded with a dark fruit.

Tastes: this is a super yummy ale. It is sweeter than the original Old Curmudgeon's with the maple syrup playing a big role along with the barrel side notes like toffee and vanilla with a generous Bourbon character.

Mouthfeels: at just under 12% this is a big beer but hard to call a sipper. I really enjoyed this and as it warms up the bourbon builds and the slight burn is super enjoyable.

Overall: I was lucky enough to score a bottle of this when it was around, and I was even more lucky when I got to have quite a few glasses at the tapping at my favorite pub. I am curious to see if the heat mellows a bit with some time, but I fully enjoyed this brew and will soak up every bit like a sponge given the opportunity. 10 out of !0, Great Job again to Founders Brewing Co.

 1,035 characters

Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is not for drinking by the pint. Good lord. Nose, Taste, and Feel: Molasses is clear, maple syrup, diacetyl, crazy dark fruits in the nose, creamy, rum-cake, alcohol, butter . . . bourbon, vanilla, chewy. This is crazy, crazy good. I would prefer a 5 ounce pour, though, especially at 12% . . . but if i gotta drink the whole bomber, I gotta drink the whole bomber.

 370 characters

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.

 826 characters

Photo of raleigh_blue
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

10 oz pour into improper glass (pint glass). I was just happy to try the Kaiser. Cloudy with some residual sediments in the pour. I was one of the first to order this and also had it mid-way through the sixtel so i suppose after sitting a few years this was typical. Deep amber color.

Smell: Boozy caramel and vanilla. Taking in a full waft of this made my mouth water.

Taste: Boozy caramel, bourbon and vanilla. Super sweet, but I love it. Tastes like a caramel apple without the apple.

Mouthfeel: Thick and coating. Like chocolate milk with caramel/vanilla instead of chocolate.

Overall: If you happen to see it, by all means drink it. Outstanding by every measure.

 672 characters

Photo of Spaten454
4.72/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: it pours a burnt orange color with a small head that dissipates quickly. nice lacing. I had a lot of sediment in my pour.

S: Maple syrup, then bourbon. heaven. It smells exactly as you would think. everything blends together perfectly.

T: maple sweetness up front followed by a light bourbon in the end. Hints of caramel. nothing is overpowering. every flavor compliments the other. its not over sweet at all and the maple is fantastic.

M: Totally smooth, kinda slick like syrup. light carbonation. kinda coats the mouth.

O: Just a great beer. Def worth trying to score a bottle.

 586 characters

Photo of sculls65
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy deep amber with creamy head that shrunk to a small cloud in the center of my tulip glass. Nose picks up bourbon, maple, all those toffee candied malts and alcohol ..and some dank wet fruit or peat or leather. The taste is sweet and smooth. Dominated by malts and sweet maple, the bourbon warmth adds a nice touch. Glad i got to try it, but sad its gone.

 369 characters

Photo of ConorThomas
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 750mL bottle of this at Lexington Beerworks in Lexington, KY. Poured into a snifter.

A- Dark amber with only slight hazing. Creamy head stays short.

S- In my opinion, the smell is the best part of this beer. Big molasses and maple, as well as sweet vanilla, sugar, and maybe slight caramel. Alcohol is slightly present as well.

T- Mostly sweet maple and molasses. There are a full array of flavors to compliment, most of which mirror those in the smell, making it quite full.

M- Full mouthfeel as well. Warming alcohol with maybe only a slight harsh tint.

O- Very delicious and worth a try, but it may be worth sharing with a few since it's a little pricey.

 672 characters

Photo of travMI13
4.62/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage. 750 mL bottle served into a CBS snifter.

A: Pours a hazy orangeish, reddish, brown tone with a small off-white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a decent amount of lacing.

S: The nose reminds me a lot of fresh raisin bread. I'm getting bread and raisins with hints if cinnamon, maple, and booze.

T: Strong maple flavor up front. Very sweet. Getting some of the breadiness from the nose along with a lot of spices. The booze is incredibly well-hidden. This is a challenge to describe accurately. My best analogy is coffee cake soaked in BLiS maple syrup, and I think that's exactly what it is supposed to be. Sublime.

M: The sweetness and stickiness linger for quite a while. The mouthfeel is very syrupy, even though it's not very thick for an olde ale. I almost wish it was a bit heavier, but that's a very minor complaint.

O: This beer is absolutely outstanding. I'm enjoying it immensely. The sweetness and the spiciness might not be for everyone, but this is right up my ally. Just another well-executed barrel-aged beer from Founders. The Founders barrel-aging program just might be the best in the business, and this one is just another feather in their cap.

 1,199 characters

Photo of ChiPool
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Founder's snifter. Can't find a bottle date, but purchased back in February: consumed & reviewed 12/23/12.

I'm so accustomed to BA stouts, I forgot this was an old ale. I realized this upon the pour, as it is a medium amber color, with moderate carbonation & about a quarter-inch of cream colored head. It's cloudy: plenty of floaties present. The nose gives you no doubt about the bourbon presence: boozy, a touch of honey there as well. the booze is well blended on the palate, though: very little booziness there for a big boy like this. As this opens up, the molasses make itself more prominent. The bourbon & molasses pair well: not much there in bitterness at all. The mouthfeel is superb: just right. It gains a bit of density as it warms, but nicely balanced overall.

Nice change of pace for a BA option (old ale as opposed to a stout). My only complaint is that it is a touch heavy on the molasses. Make sure to have a friend when you open this...or hunker down!

 993 characters

Photo of fvernon
4.75/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Deschutes snifter at around 50 degrees. It's my only bottle, so trying to make this count while I cook (and eat) a beet/fig/goat cheese pizza. Pours out a light copper with a nice, mother-of-pearl head that quickly billows up and then dissipates to a thin film across the top of the beer. A swirl brings some back up with globs of lacing, but again it quickly peters out. Still, it's very nice to look at - the color is vibrant.

This beer is a brilliant copper in the glass, with nice flashes of ruby where the light catches it. Aromas of malted biscuit, maple syrup, and a faint bourbon in the background. Something like a muted strawberry jam comes through as well. Then the first sip... way more of an alcohol bite than I was anticipating; it's all old ale and alcohol up front with the maple-bourbon-oak finish. Raisins, dates, and booze on the exhale. Subsequent sips bring forward the maple and bourbon more, even moreso than I got from my bottle of CBS. The mouthfeel is just right - thick enough to savor, but not overly chewy. I guess I could have waited on this a while longer for the booziness to calm down, but I'm still enjoying it greatly. Something I'd definitely seek out again if I can track it down on tap.

 1,259 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe