Founders Curmudgeon's Better Half | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon's Better HalfFounders Curmudgeon's Better Half

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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.

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Reviews: 234 | Ratings: 970
Photo of andrewjraab
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes from 12-14

A. Pours a golden amber brown. Good clarity. Big off white head that quickly shrinks. Not much stick or retention to speak of.

S. sweet and malty, big blast of sweet bourbon and maple syrupy goodness. Smell makes me hope to one day enjoy one of these before during and after a pancake breakfast.

T. Sweet molasses, malts, bourbon, and oaky.

O. This is amazingly smooth for the alcohol content and walks such a delicate yet unique flavor trail. Was this a one time deal for the back stage releases? I hope not.

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

I <3 old Curmy, so i knew i had to try this. Boatshoes sent me a box with this.

Body is a auburn amber sunburst color. Thin cap that fades rather quickly.
The nose is awesome! (exclamation point) Full nose of maple sweetness and i love it. Alcohols and vanilla bourbons(plural).
My wife called out maple right away but she is a Canadian, which is commonly known to be cheating.
Flavors have more alcohol heat then the sweetness that the nose had, not bad at all i like heat it just tones down the richness a tad. bourbon is more upfront with oak. Maple and molasses are there in 2nd place. brown sugar. <3 this beer.
body is good, stops short of sticky, mild carbonation.

<3 great beer to sip on for 3 hours tonight. Boatshoes is going to get a nice box back, he better watch himself.

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Photo of pschul4
4.23/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got the last bottle from my beer store so I'm feelin pretty lucky

A- Pours much lighter than I was expecting from a barrel aged beer but given that it's an old ale it stands to reason to be lighter

S- Very sweet maple syrup scent coming from this one with some background bourbon. These two scents dominate everything and not much else comes off this beer

T- Subtle maple syrup notes with big bourbon flavors and some background maltiness, much more complex than the scent and overall absolutely delicious

M- Super smooth with low carbonation, not chewy but quite thick

O- I loved this beer, is it CBS? no, but it's not a huge step back from that

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Photo of HoneyLamb
3.91/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 750 mL bottle from Liquor Cabinet in St Joseph, Michigan. Beer was refrigerated for about 45 minutes prior to it being opened.

Medium hard pour resulted in three finger head in my pilsner glass. Good film cohesion. Color was golden/amber, but I thought it was going to be a little big deal, though.

No heavy aromas, but light maple syrup smell definitely comes through. Expected more alcohol smell, but that wasn't there.

Taste didn't match smell. And because of that weak smell, the high-gravity hit me harder than expected. This beer's flavors came through when it warmed in the glass. I almost gave this beer a 3.5 taste, but the maple and molasses really came through as the temperature approached room temps. The oak was always there (cold or warm).

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.54/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into Tulip.

A. Pours 1 finger head. You can smell the beer as it is poured from the bottle. Not a lot of lacing, but a solid collar of lace left on the glass. Color is an amber brown. Decent retention with a permanent top layer of head.

S. Wow! Brown sugar, molasses, raisins, maple syrup, vanilla, oak, alcohol, candied fruit. All kinds of aroma in this beer. Very sweet smelling with all of that goodness going on. Its like the smell of a candy store for a beer nerd.

T. Damn! One of the smoothest extremely complex tasting beers I have had. Pretty much all of the aroma translates to the taste. Sweet, maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, raisins, dates, rum soaked fruit, vanilla, oak. Incredibly delicous. Wouldn't mind drinking this for breakfast with my better half.

M. Full bodied. Medium/low carbonation. Mouth coating, lip smacking sweetness.

O. Very good beer. Kind of beer that makes you happy that you just had a beer so good, and sad that you don't have any more. I think Founders could age a barrel of urine in those maple syrup bourbon barrels, and it would taste good.

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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 thedoubler55
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brownish Copper in color a bit transparent, a nice finger of off white head at the top, the lacing around the glass was moderate.

S: The nose of this brew was very uniqure, strong hint of bourbon right from the start, hints of brown sugar, caramel, honey,plum, and some vanilla.

T: Same as the nose, very bold taste up front, strong hints of bourbon, maple syrup, brown sugar and some notes of dark fruit.

M: The alcohol is very strong and hits you right away causing a warm feeling on the tongue, moderate carbonation and syrupy.

O: Strong brew, I am good with having tried it, but I am a bigger fan of the old Curmudgeon.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.94/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark brown with thick white head off pour that quickly fades to white lacing, small amount carbonation and very murky and cloudy

Smell- wow such great nose, vanilla, malt, syrup, and oak great nose,

taste- the taste is very very sweet up front and than has faint spice and hop at then end that trys to wrap it up with bit dryness on the finish, you do get some vanilla and oak and some maple, the flavor though good is not quite as complex as you are thinking may get off the vibrant nose, tons bourbon and booze, probably a bit boozy, may need age,

Mouthfeel-medium to full bodied with very smooth feel, can def get some warmth from full booze level

Drinkability/overall- This was very tasty and complex beer, would I call it world class probably not but certainly a world class nose, I would be interested to see what a bit of age would do in this beer, maybe I came into this beer with such high hopes but for the price I guess you should, certainly a very good beer just maybe tad hot right now and a bit less complex then I was expected, hmm alot going on for sure a bit boozy and sweet to be highly drinkable, that said I will look forward to what age will give my other bottle

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Photo of Sarlacc83
3.8/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle traded. Thanks!

A: Frail copper with a clean white head. Falls off the glass.

N: Malt and pineapple. Thick, dripping caramel. Maple and vanilla.

T: Butterscotch and toffee. Burnt brown sugar and caramel. This is surprisingly biting. Bourbon is faint here. Cotton candy. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M: Pleasantly heavy. Carbonation level is very good - not faint, but not dominant

O: Pretty good, but not amazing. It's really straddling the line between, burnt sugar, bitterness, and sweetness. Recommended, but might benefit from age.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A -pours a rusty copper color similar to melted caramel. Pour does not yield any foam.

S - the nose is deep, sweet and oak forward. lots of buttery notes play off sweet grains creating aromas reminiscent of buttered bread or pancakes. Maple syrup notes add the sweetness. as it warms grape-y notes come forth adding a congac style flavor.

T -oaky and buttery up front. Reminiscent of a California chardonnay. There is a slight bit of boozy quality which settles into a cognac flavor in the center. Hints of grapes and pears as well. A refreshing hit of Peppermint on the finish.

M - medium bodied but nearing full. straddling a line between Creamy and watery texture. Medium carbonation.

O - a very complex and nuanced beer. much better than i had expected. very good stuff.

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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 pmlondrigan
4.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks not so good. Murky brown, like a panoply of dead fall leaves. Bad head retention, and loopy at best carbonation. So all in all it looks the way an old ale should, but ugly. Smells very nice. Like a hot stack of pancakes. Maple, bourbon, toffee, caramel chews and some spices? american oak. To be honest it really smells like KBS without coffee. It smells sweet, warm and inviting on a fall evening. Really full taste with many flavors following from the indication of the aroma. The predominante flavors are from the oak backed up by huge malt. Bottle is from the release, duh, so the booze has calmed a little. however still a little hot. Oily and lacking enough carbonation to cut the body and booze. This is a great old ale, a style I really love. Many love impy stouts, but I find this style more interesting and more difficult to pull off with grace. In the end Founders does a bang up job, but falls short of the best.

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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 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 MusicaleMike
3.81/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful clear amber color, but with only a minimal, frothy peach colored head that dies away after a few minutes and leaves nothing but sporadic scars of lacing on the side of the glass. Appears a bit lifeless.

The aroma is a wonderful mix of sweet caramel, maple, vanilla, booze, fig pudding.

CBH washes over the palate with an ease not often seen in beers over 11% abv. This beer is a sweet mixture of caramel, maple, bourbon, and booze soaked vanilla beans. This is punctuated by a alcoholic maple-figgy-bourbon quality on the exhale and aftertaste. There is only a subtle lingering bitterness....almost zero hop presence here. Dominated by the malts.

Thick, lame carbonation, and a bit oily. No heat though, and for a beer that is 11.9% and somehow eliminates the burn of raw alcohol, I am impressed.

Founders does such an amazing job of integrating barrel-aging with thier beers and somehow not making it a hot mess. This is not the most successful, but I think it was completely enjoyable, and for sure I would want to drink this again.

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Photo of haazer
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great one at the Wealth of Riches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Served at cellar temp in a chimay goblet

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.65/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle. Out of my CBS snifter.

A- A bright reddish amber, on the darker side. Very clean and clear. A healthy off white head forms and reduces to a thin layer that retains. Light lacing.

S- Tons of sweet malt, caramel, and molassas. I get some touches of heat, as well as oaky maple bourbon. Pretty amazing.

T- Just buttery smooth, which is quickly followed by a hoppy punch. The caramel, bourbon, and oak then really go to work. Amazing complex, and just kind of dances across the tongue. Sweet, but not too sweet. I do get some touches of maple candy as well.

M- Amazing. Light on carbonation, but I feel it works perfect for this beer. The body and mouthfeel just have the perfect thickness.

O- Though very reminicent of Backwoods Bastard, this beer is a little different. I think the balance of body, barrel aging, and complexity, is quite amazing. Quite curious to see what this turns into with some age, as if it smooths out it will be euphoric.


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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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