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:
425
Gots:
359
For Trade:
14
User Reviews
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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 970
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.87/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Straight up declicous on draft at Mad Mex I'm in love with these beers from Founders on barrel aged whiskey and maple syrup. This one fantastic version of the beers that I don't care for fresh but damn aged on both bourbon and Maple syrup barrels there's nothing out there like this in the world. Appears a deep caramel amber body with creamy tan head forming thick in my chalice. Aroma has deep chocolate and candy coated whiskey barrel notes excellent stuff indeed...incredible complex caramel alcohol and whisky accents to make one incredible beer going on. Toffee is warming up with sweet caramel layers and whiskey oak tones even vanilla coming from the charred oaky notes...big vinous layer of fruits like plums, raisins, and other super saturated sugar content fruit additions. Amazing in the balance even though it's sweet it's not an overkill beer, I'm glad I've come across it during a PCBW even. Mouthfeel is way too smooth for the alcohol level this beer goes down incredibly easy without difficulty. Maple syrup adds a whole other complex layer to an already big and good beer profile, this beer comes off complex delicious and I want more.

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

The beer is amber colored and mildly hazy with a small white head. The aroma is the best aspect of the beer, in my opinion. Oak, vanilla, maple, sugar, syrup, booze. The flavor is complex and well done, albeit too sweet. This seems like a beer that will age gracefully. Lots of oak, sweet maple, vanilla. Alcoholic warmth in the finish. A few ounces of this beer is plenty. I am looking forward to opening another one of these further on down the road.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Pours a deep amber body. Decent head with decent lacing.

Smell - Apples, bourbon, maple. Big molasses aroma. The aromas complement each other very nicely.

Taste - Even better. Apples subdued. Much stronger maple syrup. Sweet dark sugar flavors. Nice earthy hop bitterness to keep it balanced. Awesome.

Mouthfeel - Boozy, for sure. Easy to drink, surprisingly. Almost too light considering the ABV.

Overall - Quite spectacular flavors. Much better than Old Curmudgeon. Every beer needs to be put in maple syrup bourbon barrels.

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

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half, or if you want to be the beer geek of all beer geeks, "CBH". Old Ale brewed with molasses and aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels. "Maple syrup bourbon barrels?" What is that? Maple syrup bourbon barrels? Which ones? What? 11.9% ALC./VOL. Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, MI. No gobbledygook whatsoever, only legal crap, so let's jump on in…

Dark crimson hue, small head, turns to a tight ring.

Aroma is utter decadence. Hedonism in a bottle. Maple and bourbon blended with old ale? How much richness can you take? Bam! Hit after hit of sweetness, least of which is the rich malt backbone. Whiskey, vanilla, cherries, maple and more.

Taste: All of that and so much more. Intensely delicious. Caramel, toffee and chocolate tones dance with the dark fruit and the effects of the barrel. Despite the incredible hugeness of this affair, it's even slightly a chore to drink. He says, perhaps too early. I'm not even halfway through this bottle, and damn, but I will finish it.

And damn, it is impressive. All the parts hang together in all the right ways, and the sweetness sticks out, bolstered by the booze, but it holds it's own appropriately. Mmmm, mmm, I have to say, mostly because I haven't said it yet, and sometimes it needs to be said. Mmm, says me, mmmm.

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

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter glass. Let's see how Kaiser here goes from his on tap version back in the day.

Nothing like Kaiser on tap. An absolutely gorgeous ruby crystal clear shimmering body, faint tan head falls leaving a whispering top and a tan collar. Spotted leopard like lacing, and faint legs of sheets. This body color is just like a gem it's beautiful.

Bouquet is mellow, soft, slight icing sugar, barleywine rich without the boozey character, mellow hops, subtle beef jerky, caramel, and faint maple syrup. I don't get the sense something really sweet is coming. This is like a real nice subdued and rich barleywine on the nose with a unique profile.

Taste bring a solid palate, bringing the nose notes nicely. Nothing overbearingly sweet, maple sugar comes in slowly, finish highlights this wonderfully. The bottle truly does manage the notion, it tastes like pancakes, pat of butter and hint of maple syrup. No sense of hot heat at all, not even warming in the stomach.

Overall, I am just shocked at how different this is in appearance and taste compared to Kaiser, it's not even the same thing, and out of the bottle it's real impressive. I was tempted to just trade this, but I am really glad I tried it. It's just great. Founders = magic in a barrel.

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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 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.

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

A; poured a dark brown in color with caramel brown highlights and had a nice finger worth of head that left some good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of maple syrup was apparent in the aroma with bourbon barrel characteristics, some caramel, sweet malts, and traces of booze as well; very nice nose.

T: The maple syrup and bourbon barrel characters was more prominent on the palate alongside vanilla caramel accents but with nice sugar sweetness.

M; the brew was medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, maple syrup, bourbon barrel, vanilla, and sticky finish.

O; it was a very tasty old ale with a great aroma. Wish I could get my hands on more of this beer

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to someone for sharing at bu11zeye's 10,000th rating tasting.

The beer pours an orange-brown color with a tan head. The aroma is awesome. I get a lot of maple and oak notes, as well as some vanilla and toffee malt. The flavor is very similar. There is a lot of maple and vanilla from the barrel aging. I also get quite a bit of toffee and caramel malt, as well as some alcohol. Medium to thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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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 aasher
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with zep9865.

This beer pours a light bodied, sticky rich amber in color with a soapy lacing around the glass. The nose is very soft toffee, vanilla, candied malt, and an ever so slight touch of bourbon. The noses is soft and sweet. The flavors consist of toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, slight bourbon (especially as it warms), and candied malts. Great flavor. It is definitely on the sweet side. This is a nice beer to share and overall is a fine old ale. I love when breweries have the balls to make a beer like this. Barrel aged old ales are something that I hope becomes more and more popular. This was a really nice beer and I appreciated how the bourbon came through as it warmed (unlike CBS). This one was a treat, and on the dessert side, but a treat nonetheless.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half

LOOK: Medium brown color, good clarity, light tan foam.

SMELL: Amazing notes of bourbon, oak, vanilla, malt, toffee and caramel upfront. The notes resonate in the glass.

TASTE: Malty and oaky, with a touch of maple but mostly just sweetness, smooth bourbon notes, vanilla and caramel. Really tasty stuff; rich and complex.

FEEL: Full bodied, smooth, low-medium carbonation.

OVERALL: A really great beer. Drink it first or last as it tends to overshadow others. The expressive barrel notes and most excellent base beer of Curmudgeon taste like they were always meant to be together.

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

Another wonderful beer from Founders. I'm really digging the large format bottle special releases- all of them have been welcome additions so far. This one is no exception. Pours a dark amber with a solid head for the abv and style. The head sticks around for the duration of the beer. Lovely bourbon aromas to start, with vanilla, a bit of spicy oak, and a nice punch from the residual alcohol. Some Maple develops at the end. The taste is even better, with very well integrated flavors of chocolate, vanilla, maple, oak, Bourbon, and molasses notes. On the sweet side, but it all works very well. Silky in the mouth, and a pleasurable experience all around. A very tasty beer indeed.

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

On tap at Blue Dog in Chalfont, during their wealth of riches event.

The beer pours a dark golden amber color with good head retention and lacing. Those comes across as sweet and strong, as I pick up vanilla, cherry cough drop, some light maple and a hint of hazelnut. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but is really dominated by the cherry cough drop and vanilla. The high abv. is definitely noticeable in this beer, though the beer is not at all hot or heavy on the palate. Mouthfeel is fairly full, and the beer has a long, rich, sweet finish.

While I thought this a pretty good beer, it was just a bit too sweet and boozy for me. I was able to try this side by side with frangelic mountain, and preferred that beer to this one.

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

Pours a dark orange with a finger of off-white head that settles slowly to a thin band. Patchy lacing on the glass. Good clarity. Aroma is somewhat boozy and sweet, with mild maple notes, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and a prominent oakiness.

Complex flavor with subtler maple than anticipated as well as lower overall sweetness. All elements are well-integrated: maple, brown sugar and toffee, bourbon, vanilla, some darker fruits; oak barrel character; raisins and toasted malt.

Medium to slightly full bodied, with moderate carbonation. A little lighter than I’d like but still very smooth. I almost want a more syrupy mouthfeel as that would befit the maple character well. Overall a strong and boozy treat and a pretty damn tasty one. Falls a little short of being truly exceptional but still a very interesting beer. Wish I had a few more to enjoy over time.

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Photo of corby112
3.53/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at The Pour House in Westmont, NJ.

Pours a deep, dark burnt orange color with tangerine edges and a two finger, frothy yellowish-beige head that very slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet boozy aroma with a pretty strong barrel presence.  Lots of earthy oak, maple and bourbon along with some leathery malts, toffee and hazelnut. Oak is strongest element which is surprising.  As it warns, the molasses character comes out and meshes nicely with the maple.  Still, the nose is surprisingly a bit bland with too strong of an oak presence for my liking.

Medium bodied with lots of boozy heat and a strong barrel presence.  Dominant dry oak flavor with booze and sweet maple notes.  Underneath, there is some more booze and leathery malt.  Sweetness kicks in as it warns with hints of toffee, caramel and hazelnut. Dry and spicy with subtle molasses.  Still pretty hot however and a bit harsh.  6oz is plenty.  

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Photo of dar482
4.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a deep dark ruby red that is clear.

The aroma is just huge. There's oak chips, vanilla, tons of sweet caramel, some honey, brown sugar. The bourbon really shines through with some alcohol in there.

The flavor follows with lots of oak, wood, bourbon, and vanilla character. There's then that smooth mellow sweetness. It's so delicious with that smooth caramel, molasses, brown sugar sweetness that rolls around the tongue. It's almost like sipping on a sherry with the sweetness and big booze character.

Then follows still with that tinge of bitterness and alcohol that triggers to clean off the palate. It's great that the bitterness is still in this big sweet beer.

The body is medium to heavy, though not too large.

This beer is one of the best examples of what barrel aging can do to a beer. It completely lifts the original beer to another level. The barrel character is huge and defines what bourbon barrels do.

I thankfully had this next to Old Curmudgeon. What the barrel does to this is incredible. With the huge aroma and the mellowing out of flavors, yet still with the bitterness, the barrel makes this beer exceptional to world class.

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

Enjoyed at the Armsby Abbey to kick off their anniversary week party.

A - Poured into a standard stemmed chalice a hazy caramel hue with a nice dense creamy one finger head that fades to leave great thick side lacing.

S - Aromas of rich oaky vanilla bourbon and barrels with light toffee and caramel. Nice and warm and inviting.

T - Taste is good raisins, darkfruits, light bourbon notes. Some light maple syrup-esc sweetness. No alcohol on th taste really which is nice, all the flavours meld nicely with eachother though the age is definitely noticeable.

M - Mouthfeel is excellent for the ABV, very smooth and drinkable with some light carbonation.

O - Overall this was a very nice old ale, would have liked to have drank it fresh. Still though this was quite tasty and super drinkable.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.72/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 2/15/12
*From notes

-- Consumed side by side with a 2010 Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale --

A: A straight pour down the center of the glass yields a meager .25 finger white and bubbly head. Pink grapefruit-crimson in hue. Decent retention, collar and lacing.

S: Sweet. Quite sweet, in fact. Heavy gobs of maple are right there, and the bourbon fills in where the sap does not.

T: It's extremely sweet right out of the gates, and it never lets up. Unlike CBS, the base beer here just doesn't have the strength to stand up to the maple bourbon barrels, which overwhelm all other aspects of the brew. Sure there's more control here then say Kuhnhenn's BB 4D, but CBH just doesn't present the depth and concentration of flavor. The mid dries out a slight bit, though as it does the booze really wallops the palate. The back is jam packed with maple syrup, toasted coconut and vanilla. For as tasty as this is, the beer simply lacks the layers of flavor I've come to expect out of Founders barrel aged brews.

M: Unlike most of Founders offerings, the balance in the mouth is off. It takes a lot of swishing and chewing to get that frothy feel I so enjoy about good beer. It's a bit oily and simply undercarbed for my liking.

O: Put this on the shelf year-round and watch the rDev fall. I think that (yet again) the hype train has gotten a moderate hold of a reasonably good beer. This lacks key components of the best in-style, and the maple bourbon barrels overwhelm the delicate nuances of what an Old Ale should be.

I've put my other bottle in the cellar, hoping that a bit of age will solve some of these issues. But when they're rudimentary like this, I doubt the foundation will really change that much.

All in all a good (not great) beer, though it's certainly the weakest entry in Founders Backstage series to date.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on draft at sams in Durham. shaker.

pours a reddish brown with a slight head. smell is of booze and caramel. very strong. taste is boozy, a tad sweet with the caramel and very full bodied. its a big boozy beer.

overall , drink this slow as its definitely a sipper. I had it 2 yrs old on tap and it was still extremely boozy. be prepared.

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

Excited for this one no doubt!

A-Pours a crimson brownish color. Minimal head dies down. Off-white head. Leaves hundreds of lacing spots. Barely hazed.

S-Whoa! Smells awesome. Very powerful. A mix of maple syrup, oaky bourbon, sweet sugars. Alcohol is noticeable but adds depth. Lots of vanilla extract as well. Very aromatically sweet. I am a big fan of the nose. Excited to try.

T-The aging in maple syrup Bourbon barrels has done wonders. The maple syrup is delicious and the underlying Bourbon flavor is a perfect compliment to the intense overall sweetness of this brew. Heaps of molasses, and brown sugar. Vanilla extract and wood that just lingers forever. Great depth. Like a pancake dipped in bourbon then topped off with maple syrup.

M-Full bodied and syrupy like SYRUP of course. Carbonation is very mellow. Slick sugary feel. Alcohol dries me out a bit but that is expected with the ABV. Big fan of the huge body.

O/D-I loved this beer. Big, syrupy, sweet and deep. Oh so rich in flavor. I didn't get a chance to try CBS but this one makes me feel pretty lucky to be able to try. At $17 a 750 ml, it is pricey but anytime Founders does a beer like this you would be foolish not to try. Great beer!

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

Pours a hazy light brown color with a small cream head that quickly dissipates, leaving a ring of foam around the rim.

Aroma is very sweet and boozy, bourbon, maple, and vanilla, accompanied buy dark fruit scents of plum, figs, and cherry esters. Burnt toffee is evident late.

Chocolate malt, maple, vanilla, and bourbon start a flavor explosion that is significantly less cloying than the aroma would indicate, due to the surprisingly dry finish. Alcohol is fairly evident, and subtle flavors of dates, figs, and bruised cherries add complexity. Maple becomes more noticeable as it warms.

Body is fairly syrupy, with minimal carbonation. A significant alcohol warmth is present.

Overall, much more drinkable than anticipated. Fairly complex flavor, but not over the top in any direction. A little more pronounced dark fruit flavor would really make this awesome.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lot of maple in this beer. Take CBS, drop the stout smoothness, add Old Ale heartiness and, surprisingly, ratchet up the maple to make this incredible beer.

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 970 ratings.
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