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 chromemittenman
5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this in bottles as well and on tap at Founders and at a bar 3/18/12.

The color is deceiving to me, I expected darker...however, the flavor waiting in the glass is out of this world.

The smell...it is apparent immediately that the famed Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup process was used.

Boozy...Yes please...it doesn't hide the fact it is aged in Bourbon barrels.

When I got it poured, I ordered a small 4 oz glass of another beer to let this warm, the warmer it got, the more incredible it became.

I hate to say it, but I would have to say this beer is neck and neck with CBS, if not better IMO.

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

Poured into Duvel glass

A: Finger and a half khaki head, pretty clear, deep ruby amber color, good carbonation, bit of lacing

S: Some bourbon, maple syrup, caramel, oak, brown sugar, touch of vanilla and earthiness

T: A nice blend of flavors here; sweetness upfront, not as much bourbon as the nose would lead you to believe, oak, touch of raisin, little bit of spice

M: Smooth and creamy, decent carbonation, medium to full bodied, warming finish

O: Very good stuff, wish I had some more

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

From 3/15/12 tasting notes... Paired this with some opening round NCAA Tourney action. Poured from a 750 ml bottle into CBS snifter.

A) This is a pleasing looking burnished brandy. It starts with nearly a finger of head that settles to a wispy dusting. There was not much lacing, seemed to have some alcohol legs.

S) Nice blend of aromas. I picked up some vanilla, maple syrup, caramel, Levi Garrett Tobacco. It's fairly sweet, with a nice hint of the bourbon.

T) Definitely lives up to the expectations I had after savoring the aroma. Vanilla bean, sweet maple syrup, some dark fruits,a little brown sugar, a little woody bourbon barrel cask. The alcohol is well hidden. Well balanced flavors, that deliver a great taste.

M) Nearly full bodied and lightly carbonated. This one is silky smooth. Finishes fairly sweet with complementary earthiness. Nice aftertaste.

O Simply put, this is an outstanding ale. If you are lucky enough to try this one, do not hesitate. Thanks to Founders for another fantastic offering.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of orangesol
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from the bottle at Al's of Hampden. Thanks for the chance to try this one Al.

A - Pours slightly murky copper orange with a small half finger tall off white head leaving very thin streaks of lace down part of the glass.

S - Smells of caramel, toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, oak, brown sugar and the maple syrup from the bourbon barrels. A bit of booze develops toward the end of the glass but it still smells great.

T - Starts off with lots of sweetness - mostly caramel, toffee, butterscotch, brown sugar, etc. - slowly giving way to hints of oak, vanilla and the maple syrup / bourbon from the barrels. The booze is light initially growing stronger and stronger as it sits in the glass. Finish is pretty sweet with a touch of booze burn, lingering on the pallet for some time after consumption.

M - Medium body with a rather sweet flavor and moderate carbonation. The sweetness is strong throughout, lingering long after the finish.

O - I rather enjoyed this one. It packs a ton of flavor and it was still pretty easy to drink, minus the slight booze kick. I am really starting to like all these Old Ale's I have been having recently.

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

Bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

A- A careful pour created a 1/2-finger, off-white head that thins to a light film. The body is clean on the first pour. Amber edges toward a garnet/red with light carbonation. Light, sticky spots are left on the glass. A more aggressive,second pour meant a full finger of foamy head that still dropped pretty quickly. Stick improved with a second pour.

S- Quite sweet at first, lots of maple and wood. Some caramel and brown sugar, a little leather and tobacco leaf. Hints of raisin.

T- Very flavorful. Definitely pick up the maple syrup and bourbon. A little raisin and some spice (cinnamon, pepper, a little anise?). At points it's all about bourbon, nice and smooth. It really changes from sip to sip with warmth.

M- Nice and viscous as expected at the higher ABV for the style. Light carbonation combines with spicy hops and alcohol to provide a little bite.

O- Rich, full flavored old ale is wonderful. I tend to get underwhelmed by the style as I'm always expecting something really bold. This might be bait toward the extreme for the style, but I like it. After 1-1/2 glasses, I paired it with wheat crackers and cheese (Swiss, Havarti, and Gouda). It went together quite nicely. Worth the money. Definitely a special beer, not for every day consumption. Take your time and enjoy it. I'm about to finish off the last small pour now,

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Photo of SawDog505
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip glass. Pours a dirty brown, with a one inch white head, leaves some lace. Smell is vanilla, maple, fig, and bourbon. Taste is very aggressive, with pungent vanilla and bourbon leading the way. Body is on the larger side, good amount of carbonation, not overly dry, and a sipper yet very drinkable. This was a wonderful experience and Founder's one again you leave me in awe.

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Photo of mobius387
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured into cbs snifter!

appearance: copper colored and clear, nice bubbly cream colored head

aroma: some caramel, and some mustyness to it, but not super impressive, pretty soft

palate: oh my goodness so so smooth! can hardly tell this is almost 12%, very little carbonation. perfect feel to this beer

taste: great syrupy flavors with some caramel, hints of vanilla and cinnamon. little bit of bourbon kick

overall: another fantastic offering from a top notch brewery. would love to have this one again!

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Photo of Morey
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from 2012 release.

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a cream colored head that stood about 1 finger tall initially. If you hold it up the light, the beer actually looks more orange than anything. The light also reveals that this beer isn't nearly as hazy as I had initially though. Pretty good lacing on my snifter.

The aroma consist of bourbon, vanilla, butterscotch, ripe plums, and a little bit of wood. As it warmed I feel like I'm starting to get the maple syrup in the nose as well.

Malty and sweet up front. I get a little bit of fruit and brown sugar. The bourbon shows itself in the middle and lingers through the finish with a bit of alcohol on the back end. I also get the wood/oak.

Medium..headed towards full bodied with a syrupy sweetness and a soft carbonation.

A really nice Old Ale overall.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is good, and as others have said...it does remind me of Backwoods quite a bit. Although it's slightly sweeter. And the differences between the base beers (Wee Heavy vs. Old Ale) are also very noticeable.

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

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

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Lucky's anniversary party. Cloudy orange to amber color. Head disappears quickly, but does leave a few spots of lace.

Fruity, toffee and caramel aroma, laced with a nice amount of bourbon, oak and maple.

Great maltiness of Curmudgeon up front. Toffee, a bit of fig and ripe fruit. Bourbon notes come in, with some oak tannin and a hint of maple syrup.

Medium to almost full body, good amount of carbonation. Some warmth, but it is ok in this beer. I love what the barrel adds to this already awesome beer. Great stuff

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this

Reviewed 3/4/12

Appearance: Somewhere between a light brown and a burnt orange - much lighter than I anticipated, honestly - off white head, quickly fades to a little ring, some wispy lacing

Smell: Malty - cooked malts, caramelized malts - some bourbon, alcohol - caramel sweetness, with a very slight touch of maple - a musty, damp basement aroma, too, which is rather unexpected

Taste: An interesting malt profile with some obvious barrel-aging - cooked malts, caramel malts, with some malt sweetness that blends with the maple sugar - a nice combination - some dry bourbon, wood - some alcohol

Mouthfeel: A bit thin, in my opinion, but good for an old ale (in general) - smooth, with some lingering alcohol

Overall: The maple works so well...

This is a really good old ale made better with a hint of maple syrup. It's not particularly earth-shattering, but it's very interesting.

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Photo of vgarneth
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this epic brew by Founders with my BA buddy, y2korey, smoking on a nice Rocky Patel Java Mint cigar as time begins to spring forward here on the East Coast, 2012. Beautiful deep, amber color with an air of maple syrup on the nose. As I take the first sip, my taste buds are overwhelmed with molasses and full on flavor. Excellent body and delightful finish!

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Photo of Mitchill
4.97/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at New Albanian's gravity head and was great then on the way home stopped at my local beer store and found a bottle needless to say I bought one. Appearance was much like the color of maple syrup, golden brown. Smell was great, bourbon accompanied by the usual Curmudgeon fragrance. Taste was great dark fruits, sweetness but not too cloying, vanilla, bourbon, coconut and then after it warmed a bit i got the maple with it all detected the creaminess of this beer. Definitely world class glad i got too try it and still have one left to age a bit longer

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

22 oz bottle, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a deep red color, topped with a finger of creamy tan head.

S- Caramel, toffee, maple syrup isn't as powerful as I expected but it's still definitely present, some bourbon.

T- A pretty nice blend of bourbon and sweet maple syrup, molasses and caramel. Both the sweetness and bourbon flavors are pretty aggressive, but not overly so, which is helped by the fact that the bourbon is relatively smooth and not very hot, while the maple syrup tastes like maple but isn't super sugary or cloying.

M- Full-bodied, moderate to low carbonation, smooth feel, nice amount of smooth warm alcohol.

O- A really nice old ale, the maple syrup and bourbon work very well together.

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

Very excited to try this. Poured from bottle, dark amber hue. Half finger of egg white head. Nose is full of rich molasses, booze and those classic old ale profiles. Sweet, sticky malts, but the maple/molasses definitely encapsulates the aroma. Taste is burn and maple up front followed by roasted barley and alcohol warmth. It finishes like a authentic waffle that crisped up a little too much. Slight butterscotch. This beer is so complex! Mouthfeel is perfect for this style. . . thick and sticky. Maple syrup coats the mouth thoroughly. Low carbonation. Overall, freaking incredible.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque caramel colored body with a tan-off-white head.

Smells of butterscotch, caramel, vanilla, and light maple.

The maple bourbon barrels add multiple layers of vanilla, maple, and oak. Smooth butterscotch, caramel, and brown sugar add more depth. It's sweet, but not overly sweet. The maple is present, yet subtle.

The mouthfeel is amazingly smooth. It's slightly boozy from the barrels. Carbonation is low, but is a very good way.

This is a fantastic beer with depth, and very smooth.

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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.

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Photo of Efeswasmy1st
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From friend Jeff from Bodega Brew Pub. Let it warm a bit. Poured into goblet. Aroma is banana, bourbon, malt. Appearance is medium amber with little head. Taste is banana, clove, anise, malt. Very tasty. Palate is easy, sweet, and long. Find a bottle, and a few friends and enjoy!

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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 Goblinmunkey7
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazed rust/copper. Head is minimal and drops to a small ring in short order. Some of the haze drops as the beer warms.

Smell: Faint hints of bourbon, earth, and vanilla. Some sweetness jumps out front. Sharp bite of booze with a faint dusting of citrusy hops. Musty. Nice touches of bready malts and caramel sweetness. Maple sneaks through the back.

Taste: Malts like whoa. Sweet with caramel and toffee tones. Bourbon is prevalent and adds a big helping of vanilla and oak. Nice heat from the alcohol. Maple is buried on the finish of the sip. Very clean syrup flavor. Less aggressive than expected. Earthy musty finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderate body that comes in a bit thinner than expected. Carbonation is also a bit higher than I would expect from the style. Barrel aging seems to have thinned the base beer a bit. Alcohol dries the sips out.

Overall: A nice take on the barrel aged beer. The old ale really takes the bourbon flavors and uses them well. Maybe some age would round out some of the rougher edges and provide a bit more complexity.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Bell's tulip.

A- Pours a cloudy, dark caramel with a 1 finger off-white head. Ring of lacing stays on the glass.

S- Toasted and amber malts, maple syrup, and some vanilla.

T- Sweet toasted malts, maple syrup and a little vanilla.

M- Full body with medium carbonation, and slight alcohol burn at the finish.

O- Good old ale, but expected more from the hype that came with it. Would like to try again with a year or so on it.

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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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