Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half | Founders Brewing Company

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

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by Jason on 01-09-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
234
Ratings:
970
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
10.93%
 
 
Wants:
424
Gots:
359
For Trade:
14
User Reviews
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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 970
Photo of Phelps
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to tobelerone for sending this one. Poured into a Russian River glass.

Lighter in color than I expected. A kinda-clear copper, with the shadows of objects visible on the other side. The head gets about half an inch tall and is a very light sand color. Some spotted lace on the sides of the glass. 4

Smells like a caramel apple. Lots of the sugary stuff, with maple and buttery oak as backup. Brown sugar and a hint of spicy hops.

Same deal in the flavor — it’s like a maple-drenched slice of red apple. Caramel, burnt sugar, apple, butter, vanilla, toffee, pretty big alcohol, toast. Smooth, sweet blend. Vanilla and booze carry into the finish.

Lightly carbonated, just a soft nudge. The medium-light body is a little more thin than I’d like. Alcohol is big in the flavor but doesn’t show up in the feel, and with 12 percent ABV, this is a major feat.

Curmudgeon’s Better Half paired absolutely perfectly with an apple tart provided by rickyn06. The cinnamon in the tart works crazily well with the maple in the beer. Brings out the toastiness as well.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Still not sure why this has not been merged with Kaiser's Curmudgeon yet but guess I'll review it until it has. had it again as CBH up at Night of the Barrels in Boston and 3 weeks ago in a bottle thanks to Huhzebenda; thanks Matt. I liked it much more from the bottle.

a - Pours a deep mahogany brown color with two inches of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel, oak, bourbon, maple, roasted malts, and toffee.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, maple syrup, oak, vanilla, sugar, bourbon, and toasted malts.

m - Medium to full body more on the full side, and low carbonation. Thick and smooth.

o - A very nice maple beer. Some nice sweet maple, vanilla, and caramel, would certainly like to have it again.

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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.

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Photo of Gmann
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep toasted khaki color with ruby highlights. The beige head is thin and wispy. Looks a bit lifeless.

The aroma is quite malty and bready. Honey sweetness and candied fruit hit the nose first. Rich caramel notes with slight hints of toffee. Light bourbon and vanilla as well.

The taste is big on caramel and vanilla. Honey and candied fruit bring additional sweetness. Not a lot of dark fruit flavors. I get a lot of Dolche de Leche flavors with a light bourbon note, as if you added a little bit of bourbon to a vanilla milk shake. There seems to be a slight berry sweetness in the end. Not much from the maple but it does seem to add a layer to the velvty smooth caramel and vanilla. Quite malty overall.

Moderate feel with some prickly carbonation. Very smooth body. Definitely sweet on the palate but not cloying; it does finish with some stickiness. ABV seems well hidden.

An enjoyable old ale. Quite sweet with the caramel and vanilla notes. Doesn't have those oxidized dark fruit notes that most old ales seem to have.

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Photo of mscudder
4.09/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed around 2 months back and documented. Poured into a pint glass.

A - A cloudy amber with a minute head. The lacing was superb.

S - Some sweet sugars came out of the nose, but rather bland overall.

T - Caramel and butterscotch dominate the initial taste. It is followed by a similar maple syrup taste to the CBS (which was a top 3 beer I have ever had the pleasure to consume). I must make note that I found the maple syrup to be a bit out of place here. It certainly adds to the beer and is enjoyable, but I cannot help but reflect on the greatness of the CBS.

M - A huge body on this one for an old ale. Thick and syrupy yet finishes crisp and clean. Excellent!

O - Unique brew that has the composition of a big stout that I found a bit out of place in an old ale. This is a fantastic beer, but I feel the style just does not permit such a bold body. That said, if one of these rare bottles is laying around in a local store/pub, give it a shot. It is truly one of the most unique beers I have ever had!

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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.

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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 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 Chico1985
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml split between myself and cbutova.

Pours a translucent amber, lots of flecks and haze on the 2nd pour however. Off-white head retains pretty well.

Big bourbon and maple in the scent, oak, some dark fruits and toastiness.

Like the scent, lots of bourbon, maple and oak up front but not too much heat. Molasses and caramel malts are big too and sweeten things up. Slight cocoa, dark fruit and brown sugar.

Smooth, lowish carbonation, lots of bourbon flavor with some alcohol heat but not bad for the ABV.

Took some time to grow on me but I found it very enjoyable. It's a bit of a bourbon/maple bomb but quite tasty, kinda like a bourbon pancake.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First sample I grabbed at the EBF 2012. This beer poured out as a clear looking amber color with some golden highlights. The head was white and settles pretty quickly. The smell of the beer gives off some big boozy notes and lots of caramel sweetness. The taste of the beer has that signature barrel aged flavor that Founders seems to nail every time they make something like this. The flavors of bourbon, vanilla, wood, caramel all collide in this one. The mouthfeel is soft and smooth with a moderate carbonation level and a boozy heat in the finish. Overall I would say this one might better with age to mellow out some of the heat in the finish. Either way, I found this beer to be very nice.

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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.

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Photo of tut2528
4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

thanks to sleuthdog for opening this one during the tasting!

A: FLOATIES!!! pours a rust color bodied, with slight off-white 1/2 fingers worth of head fromation. no lacing what so ever.

S: peat, big maple sweetness, brown sugar, very subtle bourbon, dog food (seriously, there is a hint of dry dog food). no alcohol whatsoever

T: maple sweetness forward. vanilla finish, a slight hop note, a slight touch of bourbon in there as well. not as much complexity as i thought there would be.

M: lighty bodied, but it leaves a nice coating of sugary sweetness on the teeth and palate.

O: nice solid Old Ale, but nothing to get all crazy about IMO. its a sweet maple beer all the way around, but it lacks complexity to help balance this beer out and truly making it a phenomenal brew.

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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.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into Founders Bolt Cutter glass

Pour: Rusty brown with a shit ton of floaties and no head to speak of.

Smell: I get a sweet peat and spice smell with some oak and the sweetness of the maple syrup. Is that coriander?

Taste: Maple sweetness with some vanilla and surprisingly some hops in here. The barrel character is evident but the sweetness is dominating.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a very sticky consistency. No carbonation.

Overall: Did not enjoy this as much as I was hoping to. Decent but maybe sat on this too long?

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a hazy dark purplish brown hue with a very slowly settling tan head. Bubbles rise through the beer like Neo dodging bullets in The Matrix. The liquid flows slowly but the bubbles flow even slower.

S: Smells sweet with caramel malt and red grapes with some alcohol twinge that favors the dark intricacies of bourbon or even cognac. Hints of potpourri and bright, sweet spiciness linger lightly on the nose; it’s curious, indeed.

T/M: Feel is very thick in the mouth; the bubbles didn’t lie. Caramel sweetness, molasses and alcohol twinge approach at first leading towards biscuit maltiness and touches of more red grape on the finish. Carbonation feels sharp at first but fades quickly.

This is a surprisingly thick, gracefully smooth, and elegantly complex beer. Would I put it on my pancakes? Probably. But then again, would I put any beer on my pancakes? Probably. Try this one if you have the chance, with or without pancakes.

TheBeerAlmanac.com

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Photo of bound4er
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Cloudy, amber appearance with some noticeable floating pieces of gunk. Off white, fast breaking head.

S. Barrel influences of oak, vanilla, caramel, spice and pitted fruit. Very nice.

T. Potent stuff - oak, vanilla, caramel malt, alcohol - everything you'd expect from a barrel aged old ale. Finishes with a cherry infused, lingering bitterness.

M. Medium body with minimal carbonation. I would have liked a little more mouthfeel from this beer.

O. This is a strong effort from Founders though I am not a big fan of this style beer.

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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 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.

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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.

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

Pours a slightly translucent mahogany color, with a slight beige head. The aroma was definite oak, with some bourbon and sweetness. You can get some nutty syrup qualities, caramel and nuttiness. The taste is rather rich. Bit caramel notes, maple, oak, a tinge of bourbon, followed by a rather warming alcohol finish. It's a thick beer, almost chewy, full bodied and rich. It's definitely a chore somewhat.

I'm glad this was only a 12oz fliptop, otherwise, I don't know if I could commit to a whole 750 of this beast...

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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.

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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.

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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 CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber (2011 vintage) into a tulip glass. Pours nut brown/reddish with a white one-finger head. Lacings last very nicely throughout. Defiintely pick up maple syrup as advertised along with bourbon and some butter. Flavors of maple syrup is pronounced here, butter, and molasses. Thin headed with good carbonation. There is a bitter back finish after each sip. As much as I love the label, this beer is a bit uninteresting like the regular Curmudgeon. In any case, glad to have finally tried this one out from one of my favorite breweries.

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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.

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