Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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
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
Reviews:
234
Ratings:
970
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
10.93%
 
 
Wants:
422
Gots:
358
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 970
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 3.29.13

A - Pours a dark carmel brown with a small light tan head with good retention.

S - Bourbon, maple, molasses. As advertised.

T - Rich carmel and toffee, then some licorice, bourbon and oak in the finish.

D - Heavier body with good carbonation.

O - Lots of bourbon and molasses make this a sweet carmel bourbon delight.

 347 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.11/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle shared and served in a taster. Pours a dark amber hue that is slightly lighter than maple syrup. Nose reveals booze, maple syrup notes, a sugary character and a slightly medicinal quality. Taste expresses toffee and also candy flavors (maybe Reese's Pieces). There's also a trace of toasted wood. Mouthfeel is medium-light in body with a carbonation that is just short of lively. Texture is slightly oily. Overall, a really enjoyable BA Old Ale - that said, when I had the opportunity to try this at NOTB it was a lot more maple forward. It is still drinking very well, and the alcohol heat has dissipated, but the maple has definitely dropped off.

 661 characters

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

Thanks a ton to Chico1985 for sharing, reviewed from notes.

A- Pours out amber with a light tan head. Nice creamy texture and size with good retention. Tons of thick lace all over the glass.

S- Bourbon forward with notes of vanilla, oak barrel and whiskey. Backed up by caramel, maple, dark fruit and brown sugar.

T- Maple sweets and bourbon forward. Nice maple syrup notes, whiskey, oak, raisin, dark fruit, alcohol and caramel.

MF- Silky and oily thick body with moderate carbonation. Feels slick and warm with a slight bitterness.

Maple forward, more so than CBS with a great old ale and bourbon presence. Really enjoy the interplay between those elements.

 664 characters

Photo of barnzy78
4.02/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle, shared with a friend. Pours light copper in color with a surprisingly thick, frothy head given the high ABV, holds good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. Some yeast particles suspended in the ale also. Aroma is sugary sweet with vanilla, oak, toffee, caramel, and is quite boozy. Tastes are cloyingly sweet at times with notes of toffee, vanilla, sweet maple syrup, brown sugar, oak, booze, and faint white pepper on the finish. Not much for bourbon noted. Mouth-feel is thick and creamy, but finishes edgy from the booze. Overall, I think I got my hopes up a little too high for this one. For uniqueness, it's great and I'm glad I tried it, but I think I was expecting more from it. Excellent Founders quality nonetheless.

 750 characters

Photo of claspada
3.96/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of mcgwire756.

Pours a hazy bright ruby color with a small but frothy off white head that leaves some nice sticky solid lacing as the head recedes. I am really impressed with the sticky lacing; enticing to say the least.

The aromas begin with sweet, malt-forward notes scented of caramel candy, dark brown sugar and maple. Oak tannins and bourbon emerge more and more as it warms. Boozy spirit aromas continue to emerge and is eventually all I can discern.

The tastes follow the nose initially with sweet malt and maple notes starting off. Then I get the oak, vanilla and darker caramel candy flavor. Solid caramelized brown sugar maltiness and light cocoa is complemented but the underlying bourbon presence emerges more and more as it warms.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is definitely sweet but stays away from being cloying thanks to the oak/bourbon barrel aging which imparts a slight dryness into the finish.

Overall, this beer initially did not impress me and the aromas really never did, but as it warmed the flavor profile really came into its own and become really enjoyable. I have been very non-into overly bourbon strong beers, which I assumed this would be from the aroma, but the old ale style flavor profile highlighted by caramelized malts and maple sugar sweetness counteracts the brash bourbon and oak barrel highlights. Not sure if this is really an Old Ale per say (I don't think the base beer is a great example either, so that makes sense), but I am pleased by the drinkability and elegant flavor profile of this offering so early in its inception. Well worth seeking out and recommended for fans of the style.

 1,697 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Harder to track down than Bigfoot (the real one, not the beer), but for molasses? And maple liquor barrels? I'll track. 750 ML bomber split with my wife after our fantasty baseball draft. Hillbilly Hogs for the win. And no Mauer this year.

Pour is dark red flirting with orange highlights, peppered with a 1/4 cup of suspended sediment all through the beer column. Bald man's ring on top. Smell is just heavenly. Molasses, sweet malts, deep maple. Warm alcohol. Yes.

Curmudgeon's Better Half is what one has come to expect from Founders: excellence in barreling. The maple is exquisite, coming through as a sweentess riding the malts & as a gentle alcohol burn in the back of the throat (barrel, I'm guessing). Huge caramel/toffee wades into the fray. Vanilla, brown sugar increase the cavity index significantly. Alcohol is present & warming. Wildly smooth, & stupidly easy to drink.

We should have paired this up with an original Curmudgeon's to compare-&-contrast, but hey, such is life. This is top-shelf stuff, & the reason that I'll buy anything Founders puts in a barrel. Because it almost always comes out excellent, like this beer. Borderline elite.

 1,164 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Cloudy amber, some carbonation, some carbonation, one finger head with lacing.

S-Maple bourbon, molasses, very sweet. Tad bit of grass.

T-Sweet, yet balanced. Maple, molasses and bourbon. Mild bitterness in the finish.

M-Medium bodied, with some carbonation.

O-A great beer, a friend shared it, so glad. The perfect pairing with Pancakes. Bourbon and maple were great together. Wish I could have tried it fresh though.

 424 characters

Photo of trxxpaxxs
3.73/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark honey with hues of red. There is very little head, but there is a solid amount of lacing left on the glass as it drinks.

S: The nose is malt, seaweed, honey, maple syrup. Smells like a solid old ale with a bit more sweetness.

T: It starts out with a burst of sweet and seaweed, but the awkwardness clears quickly and I get a lot of honey and maple syrup. There is a big boozy not in there as well, and it makes it's presence more evident in the finish.

M: Full bodied beer. It's think, coating, and syrupy This beer destroys the palate on contact, and lingers well past the final sip.

O: This beer is sweet and hot. It's ok, but it's not my favorite. I'd drink this beer again, but I won;t seek it out in the future.

 736 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a crystal clear deep amber color with a one finger head of off white foam. The head fades rather fast leaving a great level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass. The thick body of the brew is foreshadowed by swirling the brew in the glass, as one can see thick fingers of liquid clinging to the sides with them very slowly settling back to the bottom of the snifter.

Smell – A big caramel aroma is present in the nose with other sweet smells of vanilla and toffee. Some maple syrup and darker fruits aromas are present as well, upping the sweetness of the brews aroma. Along with the big sugary sweet smells comes along plenty of “hot” boozy smells with a strong bourbon and woody smell.

Taste – The taste begins just as the nose would have suggested; with a big sweet caramel flavor. Right from start there is also a maple syrup flavor as well as some bready tastes. Some darker fruit flavors of raisin and plum with some other roasted malt taste also quickly come to the tongue with the mix of flavors largely acting as a base for the brew. As the flavor advances from the initial, it gains a bit of butterinesss with the caramel transitioning to a toffee flavor to some extent. Boozy flavors of a rum like nature start coming to the tongue more toward the middle of the taste, starting out lighter, but by the end of the taste growing rather strong. Other flavors of a more woody and oaky nature really pick it up toward the end of the taste, and with a surge of the maple syrup and a light bourbon flavor joining the rum, one is left with a very warming and rather sweet flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thicker and sticky with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. Both are very nice for the sugary sweet (caramel, toffee, maple syrup) and boozy flavor of the brew and make for a very nice slow sipper.

Overall – A robustly sweet and very tasty beer indeed. Tons of sugary tastes with a moderate dose of booze present as well, but yet still managing to maintain a decent balance for the style.

 2,126 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml capped bottle poured into a Founders CBS snifter.
11.9% ABV, no date found.

A - Pouring colored like maple syrup, the beer is a sexy rusted hull ruby color that's fairly hazy. Frothy ivory foam caps the beer. Great retention for the large alcohol percent leaves tiny patches of lace on the glass. Legs that would make ZZ Top's collective heads spin drape down the snifter post swirl.

S - I'm momentarily rendered speechless by this aroma... Voluptuous, smooth-as-velvet maple and bourbon turn into sanded, fresh oak and gooey caramel. Hints of molasses-draped white grape and candied almond pop through the intensely malty old ale. Curmudgeon's Better Half finishes with a warm solvent touch of alcohol.

T - Almost completely unique from the aroma, Better Half transforms, equally amazingly, in flavor. Smooth maple syrup is sticky sweet with melted caramel cube and faint wood hints. Low fruit undertones complete the complex ensemble though the alcohol phenols.

M - Softer than a baby's bum, smoother than velvet, almost creamy but not cloying or syrupy in it's abundant sweetness, the balance is unsurpassed. Medium-full in body, Curmudgeon's Better Half has a seemingly endlessly lingering finish that's just a touch dry. Warming alcohol remains present throughout but for how fresh and how large the percent is, Curmudgeon's Better Half is surprisingly mellow.

O - What's there too say that hasn't already been said? Founders flawlessly ages their malty old ale in perfect maple bourbon barrels to create one of the smoothest, most complex...well, best beers the world has ever seen.

If there's one thing I take pride in, it's my objection for feeding a hype-train. Especially when it's a large, barrel aged beer hype-train. Additionally, it's not often that I deem a beer perfect. Therefor, I find it important to note that there really isn't a single aspect of Curmudgeon's Better Half (CBH - coining it!) that I would change. If you can find this beer, do NOT hesitate to get a bottle.

 2,006 characters

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

on tap at the sidecar

Pours a slightly hazed golden orange with a light crop of white head on top. Retains for a bit with some spotty lacing and film while drinking.

Potent maple syrup laced with bourbon in the nose. Syrupy sweet with layers of malt and toasted oak. Brown sugar and caramel with some dark fruit as well. Very rich and inviting.

Boozy warmth right up front with strong bourbon tempered by the silky sweetness of maple syrup. Burnt brown sugar and caramel add to the sweetness, followed by an assortment of dark fruits including raisins and dates. Roasted malts with more boozy warmth towards the finish which is sticky and hot with lingering effects of maple.

Full bodied, decent carbonation, syrupy, sticky, and smooth on the tongue. A deliciously rich barrel aged beer - the sweetness can be slightly overbearing at points but I still really enjoyed every drop.

 886 characters

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.

 1,318 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from burg. Thanks! Pours a hazy dark reddish brown with minimal cream colored head. Big bourbon maple vanilla aroma, some interesting spice notes, and sweet sweet malt. Flavor follows with a sweet vanilla maple and very subdued bourbon. Again an unexpected spicy kick toward the end here. This seems to have held up well (though did not have it fresh). Very smooth with a nice alcohol warmth. Medium low carbonation, and really drinks like a barley wine. This is excellent, despite not being a huge fan of the regular curmudgeon. I would probably take this over Sucaba. Yum. Now I just need to find a Blushing Monk to complete the set!

 642 characters

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

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like maple and molasses and tons of oak and toasted coconut, with some vanilla and earthy roasted barley and copper hops and honey.
T: It tasted like maple and vanilla and toasted coconut and oak, with some molasses and copper hops and roasted barley and honey. It had a clean and sweet and smooth aftertaste.
M: It was very thick and viscous with some carbonation. Nice full and slick body.
D: This was a delicious old ale with great maple bourbon barrel character. I loved the scent and taste, and the body was excellent. It had a lasting but mellow finish, so it was easy to drink but worth sipping. It would likely age a long tome, but it doesn't need it since it's great fresh. Recommended, if you could find it.

 797 characters

Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A whiskey colored body with lots of sediment stirring about. The head is tan and creamy with some nice sticky lacing.

Great nose of vanilla bean, oak, whiskey and caramelized sugars. Some maple syrup also.

Oh wow, the taste is so well blended. So much going on, but it is so mellow at the same time. Like it has been aged. Syrupy sugars, maple, dry oak, vanilla, warm whiskey and so on. So very complex, but not hot and in your face. Just awesome.

The body is actually quite light feeling. Very dry as well. For the flavor coming out you would think this would be a big heavy beer, but it is not.

I might actually like this better than CBS. It's like a better version of Backwoods Bastard if you can imagine. Great overall beer and I hope to have it again some day.

 769 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

One year old, bottled Feb 2012, enjoyed Feb 2013 amongst a tasting group. Pours a copper-ish, deep amber color with very nice clarity. An almost light-yellow, eggshell like head tops this one off and leaves tiny bits of lacing along the sides of the glass.

The nose on this one is heavy and full of many different things; bourbon, oak, light vanilla, light black licorice, sweet and juicy dark fruits, boozy figs, dates, and raisins, sweet toffee and caramel, and a very faint maple aroma that comes out more and more as time goes on. I'd like to believe the maple was much heavier when fresh, but it's still hidden and can be found even a year after bottling. Sweet and boozy all around.

Curmudgeon's Better Half doesn't waste any time getting down to business. It hits the palate with a heavy mix of bourbon, oak, licorice, caramel and sweet fruits. More figs, raisins, and dates that have been soaked in bourbon, and dipped in a brown sugar bath. No surprises here - the malt is heavy and gives off a huge molasses and caramel sweetness, sugary and sticky like syrup. Oak flavors are a touch mellow, but definitely there, along with the maple syrup which seems to kind of just blend into the background with everything else.

The booze is strong on this one, especially when you consider the fact that it's one-year old and only 11.9% ABV. Feels much closer to the 15% range. The maple characteristic is strongest in the aftertaste, which is also full of more oak, sweet bread, over-ripe dark fruits, and more bourbon. Thick and almost chewy body, sticky and syrupy, low-medium amount of carbonation.

Surprisingly bourbon heavy and almost even "hot" for being a 11.9% ABV year-old ale, but still pretty drinkable and definitely full of flavor. Lots of sweetness and oak flavors, along with a very, very mild maple characteristic. Was this one worth the price? Probably not, but it was still pretty damn good. I enjoyed it.

 1,930 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.67/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz courtesy od Cuzco pours a clearish crimson color with a large and frothy tan head. Awesome retention and lacing.

Holy shit this smells amazing! Toasted coconut, bourbon, vanilla, caramel malt and molasses. Absolutely one of the best smelling beers I have ever laid nose upon.

Man, this beer is tasty. Lots of syrupy sweetness and toffee with a gentle nudge of leafy hops. The sweetness is big but the toasty coconut is so wonderful that cloying never even enters the picture. Nice alcohol complexity, very earthy. Mouthfeel is absolutely perfect as it is creamy, woody and soft. Love it! One of the best beers I have had in a loooong time.

 647 characters

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

A - Pours a clear deep amber with almost two fingers of tan head. Head has pretty good retention. Only small spots of lacing.

S - Nice bourbon presence, with quite a bit of vanilla and oak in the aroma. Also a bit of caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar. Definitely some noticeable alcohol, but it doesn't detract from the aroma.

T - Caramel is more apparent in the taste, but vanilla and oak are still the spotlight flavors. The is sweetness, but not as much as I feared. The oak cuts the sweetness nicely. Taste is also a bit boozy. Very smooth flavors. Really tasty.

M - Full mouthfeel. Smooth and slick, with sweetness up front, but a nice dry, oaky finish.

O - I don't enjoy Curmudgeon enough to get it very often, but this is a nice use of the base beer. Very nice sipper.

 779 characters

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

750ml into snifter, split with fellow BA’s. Thanks for this one Jay! Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a deep glowing burnt amber with a finger of light khaki head that faded to a faint collar. Decent amount of floaties caught in suspension.
S: Vanilla, spicy barrel, bourbon is light, very sugary but molasses isn’t prominent. Maple is noticeable. Very spicy and peppery.
T: Maple, molasses, raisins, caramel, bread crust, vanilla, spicy barrel wood, and hot alcohol. Finish contains leather and the aftertaste is raisins, maple and caramel. Sweet overall. Bourbon character is only decent though. The maple and molasses really shine.
M: Smooth mouth but the alcohol is a bit warm still. Thick body, sticky and chewing feeling.
O: Very rich and decadent beer. Could use a few more months of age so that the alcohol can mellow though. Very flavorful, would drink again. Thanks again buddy (jbck109)!

 904 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice, and long sipper, hefty on its sweet side.

Presentation: 750 ml brown capped oz bottle. Founders framing with a so-so illustration of the wife of the curmudgeon serving him maple syrup over some pancakes. It offers a short one-line description. Shows 11.9% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a snifter.

A - Clear deep amber brown pour, creamy thin head with moderate retention, fair surface memory and lacing.

S - Malty and sweet nose with vanilla/bourbon notes. Pleasing and compact…

T - It unfolds a bit more in the palate. The sweetness takes center/stage but it is not overwhelming. Caramel, syrup… Plenty of malt with fruity touches under a soft vanilla/oak/bourbon flow with a touch of spices leading back to the sweet sense.

M - Medium/full body, rather smooth, somewhat syrupy… but not cloying. Moderate carbonation with a soft tingle.

O - Nice sipper, maybe a touch too easy, the sweetness is not overwhelming and it flows almost without one's notice.

Notes: Not worth the hype. Don't take me wrong: I was glad to try this bottle, and I had it with pleasure. But this ain't that memorable (to me…) It is a bourbonesque Curmudgeon? A sweeter Backwoods's Bastard? Something like that for me, and that puts it on a high quality bracket. And I'd gladly repeat it, but just not under the sense of elitism that surrounded the arrival of these bottles.

 1,365 characters

Photo of n2185
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear copper with a finger of off-white head that recedes into a thin layer with a little layer.

S: The aroma is dominated by vanilla and maple syrup. Bourbon, oak, and caramel also are present. There are also some slight flora citrus notes.

T: Maple dominates on the tongue, though it's not overwhelmingly sweet. Caramel, vanilla, oak, and bourbon are also present throughout. The finish has a slight alcohol burn.

M: Thick body with low carbonation, this beer is thick and sticky sweet, though not overly so.

O: A very good beer, overall. Lots of nice maple and bourbon characteristics in the nose and palate. It is a little on the sweet side, but not by much.

 677 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, maple and a faint bourbon note. In the taste, sweet vanilla and bourbon, and the alcohol sneaks up in the end. A small alcohol bite and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry vanilla and hint of alcohol in the aftertaste. Big bourbon with a nice sweet maple, very smooth and quite sneaky.

 370 characters

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.

 1,119 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.77/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a very deep and cloudy brownish copper orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of off white head which quickly recedes into a few thin patches. Lacing is moderate.

Smell: Big hints of bourbon up front with woody oak chips. Good hints of vanilla and maple syrup. Big malt presence with lots of caramel and toffee. Sweet molasses and brown sugar aromas. Also some subtle hints of dark raisin, plum, and fig. Light hints of earthy hops in the background. Quite a complex smelling beer.

Taste: As bold and complex as it smells. Big taste of bourbon and vanilla with lots of oak chip. Good amount of maple syrup and molasses. Lots of bready lightly roasted malts. Big notes of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Midway comes some hints of dark fruits including plum, fig, and raisin. Finishes with a very light hint of earthy hops. A pretty sweet brew but its far from cloying. All of the malts and barrel elements come together very well.

Mouthfeel: Feels on the thicker side with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and pretty syrupy. Actually finishes somewhat dry. The alcohol heat is felt somewhat at 11.9 % but its still pretty smooth considering.

Overall: A great Old Ale. Complex and nicely sweet without becoming too syrupy. The barrel elements add a great kick.

 1,387 characters

Photo of gford217
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

Pours deep, clear amber with a big creamy beige head that leaves a solid bubbly cap on top. Really good lacing as well, especially for a barrel-aged beer.

Aroma is big on the bourbon up front with lots of vanilla and oak. The caramel and toffee of the underlying beer are still noticeable as well as some booze-soaked dark fruits.

The taste is super sweet but has a spicy kick up front from some combination of oak and maybe hops. The backbone is full of vanilla, caramel malts, maple syrup and treacle. The finish has an interesting bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth with soft carbonation and really sticky on the palate with the heavy sweetness lingering after each sip.

As usual, Founders has made a fantastic barrel-aged beer. It's certainly sweet but the barrel enhances the underlying beer. Fantastic stuff.

 837 characters

Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half from Founders Brewing Company
4.3 out of 5 based on 970 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe