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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,204 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,204
Hads: 4,296
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 980 | FT: 54
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,204 | Hads: 4,296
Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.94/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The liquid is a transparent mahogany with some suspended sediment and a slow stream of bubbles rising up. The pour kicks up a modest khaki head that dissipates to a film with a ring around the surface quickly.

Aroma is really strong - you can almost smell it from across the room! Sweet caramel, brown sugar, raisins, dates, and a bit of alcohol heat. Would make a wonderful bread pudding.

Taste follows the nose, with a bit more alcohol presence. Starts out with caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, and dark fruit. Some oakiness comes in after a second, along with a bigger alcohol burn and an ever-so-slight bite of hop bitterness to keep it from being too cloying. The finish is clean, with a tightrope-like balance of sweet and bitter, and then the aftertaste is creamy caramel again. Not incredibly complex, but perfectly put-together. The sweetness, alcohol, and bitterness are all calibrated to precise levels to complement each other perfectly.

Mouthfeel is nicely thick and creamy without being syrupy. There's some nice crisp carbonation that takes a second to kick in, giving your tongue a second to luxuriate in the thick body before coming in to temper it. It's somehow perfectly timed with the flavor progression - before the carbonation kicks in you're focusing on the caramel and vanilla, then the prickliness comes in at the exact same time as the alcohol and hops to dial back the sweetness.

Overall, one of my favorite beers from Founder's, or any beer period. It's a great dessert beer for when you don't want a BA stout - it treads the same waters, but is much less heavy. It kind of reminds me of what a super-easy-drinking bourbon would be like, with the caramel, oakiness, and robust alcohol presence. Such an incredible beer!!

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Photo of csrbv
4.94/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very little head despite a strong pour. Has a hazy copper color and a small, cream colored head.

S: The smell of bourbon barrels is apparent as soon as I pour this beer. Also has a sweet malty scent to it with a bit of alcohol as well.

T: The taste is sweet, caramel malts and a bit of honey are the main flavors up front. The oak barrels come through as well with some alcohol bursting through in the finish.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation. Awesome mouthfeel.

D: Another quality brew from Founders! It's hard to find anything that I don't like from them. The oak barrels are a nice touch giving this beer some nice flavor.

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Photo of taez555
4.89/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured an amber/brown body with an almost non existent tan head.

Nose was simple breathtaking. Whiskey, wood, oak, burnt oak, whiskey barrels, malt, rich malt, cherry and vanilla fruit smells. I could sit back and just smell this beer all day.

Taste was very near to the nose but even better. Rich malt and very smooth. Whiskey, cherries, raisins, vanilla, malt, oak, some slight charred flavors and some very very mild touches of chocolate. It's so perfectly balanced from start to finish without a big hop kick or bitterness. Just wave after wave of rich malt, fruits and whiskey.

Wow!!!! What an amazing beer. I dig the oak aged thing, but this by far one of the best. It's so well balanced I could drink it all day long.

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Photo of Electros
4.88/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was hands down one of the best beers I have ever had. It went down effortlessly. Beautiful colour, smell, but the taste blew it off of the charts. I have had most of Founders offerings, and I didn't think they could top the triple. They did, this was absolutely amazing!!!

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.87/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from a pal in Illinios. Thanks Tay.

Pours a deep and dark clouded burgundy with sticky lace and respectable head given it's strength.

The smell is vanilla syrup, oak, tabacco, and booze soaked fruits.

Taste is sweet and rich. The alcohol is so well hidden on this insulin-needed sweet-as-hell brew. Very complex and the flavors just explode. It's a barrage of slightly smokey-oaked-boozey and candied fruit flavors.

THe feel to me doesn't get much better than this. So silky smooth, lets call it "velvety". the perfect size:large body. perfect for savoring every SIP.

Wow! I continue to be impressed by the brews coming from Founders, but this may be the best. I can't wait to age a few of these bad boys.

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Photo of dmgallag
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - dark ale with good lacing that slides down the glass.

S - nice sweet molasses smell. Inviting, smells like a dessert beer.

T - not complicated. Very subtle...you get the hints of oak and molasses in perfect harmony. Neither overpowers the other. Very drinkable and easy going for my palate. This guy could get me in trouble.

M - velvety smooth. Really good.

O - some might knock it because of its lack of complexity....but that is exactly what I like about it. A sweet ale that tastes better as it warms to room temp... I'm sold

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The bottle has been in my cellar for about 2 years.
With a gentle pour there is a creamy eggshell white head of 1 cm that fades quickly to a thin ring edge layer and wispy islands in the beer.
The color is a rich mahogany hue with deep garnet highlights on the sides of the glass.
Thick with particles from the pour even with an effort to decant, the particles dont settle readily and are suspended as if they are prehistoric insects in amber.
Aroma is rich malt with molasses and bourbony booze notes mixing with a bit of vanilla and brown sugar. I dont get any hops but do expect this to be a sipping beer!
First sip reveals a smooth creamy textured body with almost no carbonation. Very easy to drink on the physical side, and with the flavor kickin in it only enhances my thirst.
I get brown sugar and molasses, some vanilla and a bit of plum and raisin fruitiness. No hops and even the ~10% booze is very well hidden. This beer is drinking like nectar and I wish I had more of it to consume. This is a rich malty brew that I am glad to have sampled and would purchase again on the spot. Highly recommended, maybe even age for a year, this bottle is excellent!

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Photo of cooncat
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving from a 12 oz. bottle.

A vigorous pour produces a small tan colored head, but that is to be expected for this style. The head disappears almost immediately, but also to be expected. Color is almost an opaque dark ginger brown .. very dark. Nose is incredible with many mixed fruit aspects, including plums and apricots. Very sweet smelling, with some hint of the alcohol in the nose. First sip is like tasting ambrosia; wonderful fruit maltiness, with a hint of piney hops. The flavor is HUGE, and the alcohol presence is notable. The finish is sweet to the last drop, with no lingering after taste. Mouth feel is so full its almost 'chewy'. This is a perfect Winter Warmer, dessert beer, or excellent finish to a session.

Well done, Founders!

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Photo of jcnd9803
4.79/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A nice medium brown color with minimal head, but laced the glass well.

Aroma: Sweet, with hints of molasses and some caramel. As it warms, you can get some of the alcohol.

Taste: I thought a well balanced hop and malt profile. A smooth taste upfront with some sweet follow-up.

Mouthfeel: Some may say it's syrupy, but I say it's creamy.

Drinkability: This review is on an 09 bottle. I'll say that when it's early, it can perhaps be too heavy on the alcohol. But with just a year, this thing gets really smooth and is one of my favorites by Founders.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.79/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured a beautiful honey color with thick, milky head and light lacing; a very attractive beer. The smell is complex with fruit and spicy oakiness. The initial taste is the molasses and malts but is quickly followed by a blast of bitterness. Medium-bodied, pleasant mouth feel. Overall, I really like this beer and stock up when it's released in the Spring.

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Photo of mcowgill
4.79/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy reddish color with no real head to speak of. Thin lacing around the edges is all.

S - I love how this beer smells. Great vanilla, oak, whiskey aroma.

T - It tastes just as damn good. A malty delight. The whiskey and vanilla comes through strong with hints of coconut.

M - Excellent mouthfeel, nice carbonation

D - Wow, I have been waiting to try this beer for awhile, not knowing what to expect. This is truly great. It's very drinkable to me.

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Photo of Hardsell
4.78/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Great, great beer. Received it on draft in a snifter. The presentation was excellent, with a perfect head ratio by the time it reached the table. The taste gave a very heady, feverish impression. It is supposed to have a high malt presence, and with further analysis I can definitely taste this, but on first impression, the strong malts combine with the high alcohol level, the hops, and the added flavors to create a candied almond-like impression. To some, it might evoke memories cherry tussin, but it's so much more nuanced and interesting than that. It's definitely not fruity, but I might call it floral. The smell is also very evocative of almond, and much less evocative of cherry. This beer definitely strikes me as one that intentionally emphasizes its alcohol content, and as hard as its feverishness is to handle initially, as soon as the palate contextualizes it, it is a near-perfect experience.

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Photo of beertunes
4.77/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear reddish copper. Relatively low carbonation meant there was less than a thin cap of head yet somehow left a bit of pretty lacing.

The aroma is very malt based, sweet with a honeyish background and just a bit of hops present. There was some alcohol hotness at first, but it faded quickly. The flavors were very similar, thick sticky malt, some honey (and maybe maple) flavors, a touch of hops and a nice alcohol taste that fades quickly and leaves a warm glow.

The body is pleasantly full, just short of heavy, and tongue coating. Drinkability is excellent, as long as you're not in a hurry.

Overall, a great brew that compares favorably to the only beer I've given all 5's to, North Coast Old Stock, and is certainly worth your time.

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Photo of lilsmizzul1225
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Re-reviewed for a bottle that had been cellared for upwards of 16 months and it made a world of difference. Much sweeter, richer, smoother, no boozy taste and well worth the wait. I have a new bottle and it's going straight into the cellar for next year.

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Photo of bman13
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

Founders has come through yet again (surprise, surprise, right?). I've never had an old ale before this one and it tastes phenomenal. Very malt forward, (but not a malt bomb) with a heavy aroma of molasses and ginger snap cookies that carries through their taste and leaves a clean and heavy finish of malted molasses cookies. Love this

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an opaque mahogany amber with a faint head that disappears quickly. Pours almost like syrup.
Aroma will change with ever degree that it warms. Ripe bananas...vanilla...rum....bourbon...sweet and complex.
Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a nice ...no, wonderful warmth as you swallow.
Taste...ahhh...everything you smell along with some dark sweet fruits...plums...again vanilla, rum, boubon. Again, sweet and complex. As it warms even more ripe banana and rum and boubon flavors. Amazing. The oak or bourbon barrel aging done on this beer definitely works and works perfectly. All of the vanilla sweetness and richness you would expect from that is here and then some.
Aftertaste is chewy dark fruits and alcohol warmth.
Many thanks to CRJMellor for this trade.
Just had a second bottle of this on Nov 10th, 2006.
Everything that I found in the first except noticed a smokiness to the aromas this time I didn't note the first time.
This is an extremely complex Old Ale...sweeter than most and I love it.

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pour is hazy, coppery brown with no head to speak of. Not much lacing. I like the colour but otherwise the appearance isn't striking. Smell is strongly of malts...molasses dominant too...oak...hard liquor...vaguely reminds me of the Kentucky Breakfast Stout's whiskey-esque nose. Almost mossy forest tones also present. Quite complex.

Taste...the oak bomb from the nose comes through in spades on the flavour as well. Oak and molasses tones are huge with malts not coming up far short of them. The mossy aspect from the smell is also present in the flavour in the background, but still noticeable. Finishes with a strong oak shot. One of the most cask flavoured beers I've had...not of the liquor that was kept in the cask, but just the wood itself. Distinctive and tasty, one of my must buy old ales each year.

Drinkability is good.this is a big beer, and it doesn't conceal it, but I always am up for it. The flavour is as huge as the ABV, and it's meant to be a sipper. It is a reasonable buy at about 12 per 4 pack, and I always eagerly await its release each year. Of the domestically brewed Old Ales this is probably my favourite, especially since North Coast changed Old Stock a couple of years ago.

On the mouth the beer isn't as oily as I would ideally I like my old ales, but it is very close to the ideal. It offers up some nice back of the tongue tingle to keep me interested, and does have a full body to back up the huge smell and flavour.

The bottom line: A nice effort by Founders...truly distinct from the other old ales that are out there with a beautiful oak cask flavour that is worth trying out. One of my favourites from Founders, and I've had most of their portfolio on multiple occasions. In terms of its style, it's my favourite domestic offering, and the taste chracteristics here are almost scotch like in certain ways, which is, of course, excellent. If you like ole ales you must try this.

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Photo of rockaroo
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Most beers at the store are trendy and copycat but this one is in the >5% genius beer recipe should be around for decades category.
Not by go to style in any season and the branding is not too sexy either but the flavors are great for such a drinkable (vs. sippable) beer. Great reviews here on the flavor notes from guys who know how to nail it.

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Photo of midaszero
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks stopbarking for the bottle

A - Cloudy dark red brown with almost no head at all

S - can smell it from a distance. excellent mixture of dark fruits, caramel sweetness, oak, and also toffee. a little bit of boozes to be detected as well

T - Oak aged raisins covered in caramel and toffee sauce. Nice clean finish with some alcohol to be had in the back.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - WOW I could drink this all the time it is simply amazing.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.72/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew poured a cloudy orangish red with a beautiful head to it. The smell is amazing. Sweet malts with vanilla and a slight fruitiness. I also get a hint of whiskey. I'm not sure how this beer is made, but I could swear that it's aged in whiskey barrels, because I get such a strong whiskey taste after sipping it. It's delicious. Sweet cherries, vanilla, and whiskey in this wonderfully complex ale. Love it!

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Photo of Rob315
4.71/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Deep opaque amber with ruby highlights. Thin bone white head turns to ring of foam that sticks around.

Smell: Dark fruits, raisins and berries come to mind, buttered bread, subtle oak and wood notes, sweet caramel and toffee, butterscotch.

Taste: Sweet malt, figs, dark fruits, subtle citrus fruits, orange peel, oak, smokiness, buttery notes. Mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy with crips finish.

Overall: Very smooth, complex and highly drinkable. Can't wait to have this one again.

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Photo of kingmaker
4.71/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Magohany through and through with a khaki head which dissipates to a thin crown around the glass with some remaining to cover the exposed beer as a thin sheen

S: WOW. This is what I expect of an old ale. Sweet malts, hops, some caramel, the alcohol is completely absent. There's oak but honestly I'd probably miss it in between the malt and hop if I didn't know oak's intricacies.

T: The malt overtakes the hops by far. Rich malts followed by the oak and quickly behind that is the molasses, giving almost a toffee flavor. Again, no alcohol, even subtlety.

M: Medium, bordering on full with good carbonation. Very smooth and lingers on the tongue well after its gone.

O: I'm going to have to hide the other 3 bottles before I drink them warm. This was a great beer, highly complex with the addition of the oak. I'm disappointed that I let this one slip into the fold when I was the the NYC craft beerfest a couple weeks ago and instead focused solely on the KBS so much so that the server knew my name. This beer is an understated powerhouse.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting comparing to earlier reviews. I have very little to add.
There is a prominent nose of fruit/malt with hints of wood and aging. Raisins and a touch of alcohol. Warming, and robust as you move through the bottle. An excellent winter warmer. As noted by others the classic modest carbonation of Founder's brews appears again. Fortunastely, for me this what I love any time of year. To me contrary opinions suggest this would say that I wouldn't want another glass of a full cab, or that I wouldn't be having a vintage port in the summer. Folks, this is an awesome sipping beer for any time. I agree with previous reviewer that I will age a few. For those who enjoy a full, warming sipper to enjoy as you relax at end of day...rush to purchase!

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Photo of Zippie9999
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Bottle from a 4 pack purchased at Table and Vine in W. Springfield, MA. (Damn, CT limited beer availability!)
A: Pours a reddish, brown, orange color w/ nice foamy head retention.
S: Sweet, molasses, vanilla, with almost a red-wine quality to it.
T: Sweet, bready, with traces of molasses, burnt sugar, and subtle vanilla.
M: Nice full, and frothy.
D: Phenomenal. A great beer that hides the fact that it's 9.3% Be careful, the ABV on this sucka will sneak up on you and kick you in the ass!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.69/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Why, oh, why has it taken me so long to grab one of these? Heaven knows I've been eying it up long time, coveting it. (sigh) I gotta get a 4-pack of this ole shit.

Pale tawny hue, rich glow, with plenty specks of sediment. That's fine. 1/8" head - gone quick.

Damn wonderful aroma - toffee, caramel, and toasty crystal malt - rich, dense maltiness - with a sweet liqueur booziness pushing it all up into my noseholes, lathering my brain.

Sometimes old ales do, but this doesn't immediately recall a barleywine. Strong British pale all the way. Toffee, booze, sweet dessert wine (not vinous/red/port) highlight the flavors. Assertively malt forward, which is great. And this is the kind of barrel-conditioning I can get behind - the faint essence of oak lingers throughout. Bourbon, be gone!

I don't taste the molasses they mention having included, but it could have certainly contributed to the mouthfeel. Speaking of which, while sporting a micro drop of dry, musty oxidation, is nearly silky smooth, falling quite short of syrupy. Goddamn does it massage the palate while conjuring one of the most soothing warming feelings I've been treated to. The booze is softened expertly by the malt and semi-viscous body. They balanced the shit out of this ale. A winner!

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,204 ratings.