Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

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BA SCORE
89
very good

1,183 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,183
Hads: 4,169
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 179
Gots: 915 | FT: 52
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: 1,183 | Hads: 4,169
Photo of JWU
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my .4L mug.

A- A deep, cloudy amber with hints of orange. Thin white head that retains well.

S- Deep carmel malts, with an almost fruity character

T- Certainly the best part of this brew. Deep maltiness, the sweetness of the molasses is a fantastic flavor mid-sip, hints of chocolate around this point as well. Hops are absolutely perfectly balanced. Gets a bit boozy on the back end and finishes quite like a good whiskey, with oaky notes.

M- much heavier in the mouth than the appearance would suggest, but I really enjoy that part about this brew.

Overall, my favorite "old ale" because the complexities in the taste aren't overrun by the hops, or even by the bitterness (which Founders can do on certain brews) Top notch brew. (759 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I perused the frequently aforementioned Neil St. Piccadilly, I wondered aloud to the great manager JD if I had ever tried Curmudgeon Ale, feeling that I had yet somehow not remembering it. "Old Ale with dense raisin and caramel; delicious" was his immediate response. It suddenly dawned on me that I probably had NOT tried it, that although I had seen it so many times with the other great Founders beers displayed, I might simply have thought I had tried it from having seen it so frequently--that sight memory imbricated memory of (not) tasting it.

It came home, it saw my Duvel tulip, and it conquered my palate. Holy wow.

Thin finger of slightly tan foam atop a cloudy brown body; decent lacing, however. Dense nose, rife with raisin and fig, and tons of caramel with a hint of dark chocolate. Splendid.

I cannot rave enough about the taste--reminiscent of barleywine. It has that aged, vaguely musty aroma, ample caramelized sugars that scream boozy rum, but plenty of smooth caramel malt, dried fruit that blends impeccably--at times standing out and at times receding, plus a hint of berry in the finish. Brilliant.

The mouthfeel is a great combination of smooth and rough textures, occasionally funky, bitter, and a little gritty but overall very accessible and smooth. For the style and ABV (9.3%), this is more than a sipper, to me--though it unquestionably packs a punch.

My goodness, I am not sure whether to kick myself for going this long without having tried it, or to be grateful for my having snagged it and embedded it within, rather than presuming its place in, my memory. Just fabulous. Yet again, Founders has justified its ensconced place within my top five breweries around and, with all due respect to the tremendous Bell's, assumed its place in my mind as the best brewery in Michigan. Curmudgeon Ale is truly special, and I am on my way to nailing a couple four-packs for the fridge and the cellar.

A grand achievement. (1,955 characters)

Photo of ypsifly
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated 12oz stubby purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pint glass.

Dark crimson under two plus fingers of light tan. Has a falling effect much like Guinness. The head falls to a cm of foam in a couple minutes but it clings tenaciously to the glass and leaves a wispy sheet.

The nose has more wood than any beer I have ever sniffed. Fresh oak with some sweet malt and yeast aromas simillar to Anchor Old Foghorn. Some earth, spice and warmth from the abv in the background. Very interesting.

Full mouth that is a bit slick upfront but washes away clean.

Just like the nose, this has a strong wood flavor with caramel and spicy hops along for the ride. The alcohol comes across as a well integrated pepper yet it doesn't get hot. Some suggestion of scotch or maybe bourbon and a lingering wood and green hop finish. Unique and veryb tasty!

I could see this being a love it or hate it beer. I happen to love it and am glad I picked up a couple four packs. (986 characters)

Photo of Fugazme
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Redhaze!

from notes... I'm finally catching up on these!

Very cloudy brown... tiny head falls to a great cap... looks "thick"

Sweet, sweet licorice/anise with a pine-scented nose... grassy... strawberry... maple... vanilla... touch of wood... quite complex and wonderful. One of the best noses on a beer.

Mouthfeel is thick and almost oily... in a good way.

Malty upfront on the taste... sweet, licorice... honey with a mild hop character.

Another great one from a great brewery... (507 characters)

Photo of TheRealBigC
4.64/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an instant favorite. Almost like a cognac - heavy vanilla and alcohol flavor, but there's more depth than that. A bit of oak and cinnamon, for instance, linger somewhere in there. The bar served it in a rocks glass which was disappointing as a snifter would have been perfect for this ale. I got plenty of enjoyment in the smell as it was, but a snifter likely would have made it even better. I really have to look into more old ales because if they are anything like Curmudgeon, it's a style perfectly tailored to my tastes. (534 characters)

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip; translucent orange red with a moderate white head that fades quickly into a nice layer of foam with a bubble ring.
Smells of nutty sweet malt, raisins, sweet bread, chocolate, molasses, oak, light bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla.
Taste is soft sweet bread malt, barrel character of oak, bourbon, and vanilla...molasses, brown sugar and some earthy hops ghosting in at the end.
Mouthfeel is smooth and thick and sticky.
Overall, very nice brew as I'd expect from Founders. Malty, los of barrel character, and you'd never know it's 9.8%. (564 characters)

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

3-4 year old bottle, not much head or lacing. Muddy, tudor brown body. Aroma includes brown sugar, raisin, date, vanilla. Taste includes all of these flavors and a slight hint of alcohol heat. Delicious in every way, one of the best old ales I've had. (251 characters)

Photo of lwillitz
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A - thin khaki head over a cloudy body of deep orange/copper, residue suspended throughout

S - wood, dark fruits, caramel sweetness, touch of alcohol

T - wood, dark fruits, caramel/molasses sweetness, booze in the finish with a touch of grassy bitterness

M - thick full body, low/medium carbonation, smooth and syrupy

O - Curmudgeon is an excellent ale! Smell and taste are complex and delicious. Feel is big and smooth. Definitely worth a try if you like your beers big and malty. (525 characters)

Photo of lovindahops
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

it snowed today so it's a great reason to tap into a Curmudgeon! Love old ales!

A- curmudgeon pours a fantastic rich copper color with some unexpected lacing on the sides of the glass. The brew glows with the ruby highlights across the glass

S- Get down!!!! It's a MALT BOMB! Sweet sugar from the molasses no doubt pops up along with massive caramel flavors. Brown sugar type theme arises as well. Great whiff of flavor for an old ale

T- WHERE IS THE ALCOHOL??? Unbelievable smooth flavors that consist of the aforementioned sugar and caramel are all over. Some dark raisin and bready flavors tie up the taste profile. This may be the most flavorful old ale I have ever had

M- carbonation and coating of flavor is in a perfect unison. The brew is well crafted to finish well

O- well there is a reason founders is who they are... curmudgeon is an unbelievable brew. Again it is so smooth and lively with flavor that you almost feel like you are drinking a rich amber ale. Unbelievable.... (992 characters)

Photo of tmm313
4.62/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled: 2/15/13
Drank: 2/11/14

A- Dark reddish, brownish amber in the glass. Poured a gorgeous creamy 2 finger head. Awesome sticky lacing. Some floaties in there as well.

S- Extremely inviting. Rich caramel and molasses, raisins, woodsy oak, vanilla, bourbon, and a little bit of pine on the back end.

T- Very nice. Big caramel, molasses, and dark fruit up front, giving way to slight bourbon, oak, pine, a touch of vanilla, and earthy hop spice. Super subtle alcohol burn and citrus rind on the finish.

M- Lighter side of thick body. Creamy and smooth. Slightly drying with a very nice aftertaste.

O- Don't you just love it when you drink a beer not expecting to like it, but walk away with a new favorite? I. Loved. This. Beer. Super balance, huge decadent flavors, and awesome complexity. I will be buying a sixer as soon as humanly possible. (856 characters)

Photo of nortmand
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper pour with a thin off white head.

Resiny hops and whisky dominate the nose.

Sweet through midtongue, ends with a lingering bitter kick and an alcohol burn.

Fantastic old ale, smooth and light carbonation, strange release date, though. Would age nicely. (267 characters)

Photo of froggyfrog
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A damn ambrosial old ale...

This gem pours from a dust-covered bottle plucked from the depths of this reviewer's cellar. The twist-off cap pops off with a low hiss under the weight of a BA-branded opener.

Cloudy, make that chunky, brackish brown liquid fills the glass. Gold-yellow swirls edge the deeper brown of the depths. A scummy tannish head proves tough enough to remain present to the end.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the abused-toilet-bowl-look of this beer in a glass, is the distinctive and entirely enticing smell. A lively bouquet of dried fruits, dates and figs is followed closely by a strong spicy alcohol nose and loads and loads of caramel and brown sugar. The intricate aroma also showcases leather and honey, cinnamon and toasted nuts.

Fortunately for those finding themselves quaffing this treat - the flavor delivers on the promises of the nose. Served at cellar temperature, as this bottle was, the flavors come off as caramel-covered raisin and honey-roasted nuts with strong undertones of soft- dried apples and plums.

The beer hits the tongue with a cooling wetness and spreads through the mouth warming with its spicy alcohol as it passes. This rather unique mouthfeel is complex without being sweet, heavy or cloying. There is a subtle bitterness in the finish.

I expected this to be good, yet it was much better than I had hoped. It really shines as a stellar old ale/ English-style barleywine. Don't miss this one. (1,451 characters)

Photo of CampusCrew
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

appearance: poured with low carbonation but had great rentention and lacing. a caramel dark brown complexion.

smell: lots of caramel malt, like a sweet pie, molasses, some goosberry

taste: hefty malted ale with a great hop presence. very balanced for style. lots of caramel flavor and a touch of sweetness but not to much. drinks like a minced meat pie. bring untensils.

mouthfeel: full bodied, chewy

drinkability: great winter warmer beer, enjoyed as usual with founders. (477 characters)

Photo of reds2harleys
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another excellent beer from Founders. Just a slight notch below CBS, KBS and Breakfast Stout but still a superb beer. Wonderful flavor and very drink able. (157 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a shiny almost glazy kind of brown in color with a beautiful brown head.

Smell – The big, huge, boozy coconut and stiff oaky barrel must have left stains on the inside of my nose. The malts were broken down well so the wood and fruit really opened up nicely. It is such a unique aroma and nothing like anything else I have ever smelled.

Taste – The sharp oaky coconut from the smell was just as potent at the taste. It is an amazingly smooth liqueresque flavor with a light, dusty taste.

Mouthfeel – This is thinner than medium-bodied but bigger than light. It is incredibly smooth with no stinging sensation whatsoever from the big alcohol.

Drinkability – This went down about as well as a high-ABV beer can.

Comments – Thanks to my good friend and temporary landlord skyhand for putting me up for a few nights while I was in town and feeding me this exceptional dessert. (914 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders continues to impress me. This beer is amazing. Pours to a nice dark brownish amber, almost black. The head is off-white, and fairly thin. Recedes to a ring and a film, as to be expected from a high gravity old ale.

The smell is awesome. Very complex. Has notes of bourbon, sea salt, black anise, and a nice sweet maltiness.

The flavor is just as great. Starts off with a nice sweet molasses flavor, followed by a brilliant vanilla and oak bourbon flavor. A bit briny, with a sea salt flavor; but unlike other briny old ales I've had, this one doesn't taste the least bit spoiled. None of that soy sauce flavor associated with brininess. Simply amazing

The body is fairly full. Starts off with an intense sweetness but drops off with an intense dry sea salty flavor. Surprisingly little aftertaste. Nonetheless, if I put this beer down for too long, I begin to crave it.

It could stand to be a little more drinkable, but that would probably take away from the wonder that is this beer. Founders is quickly becoming one of my favorite brewers. (1,062 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged in my cellar for one year wanted to see how this bad boy was doing and so far it seems to be doing very well.

Very dark caramel colored thick liquid with multitudes of tiny particles wondering aimlessly abound. What small head is there disspates nearly instantly, leaving very little trace lacing.

The nose on this has seemed to multiply in the depth of smell. Immensly complex aromas of coconut milk, coconut, bourbon, pure vanilla, pineapple, cream, caramel, toffee, a odd strawberry quick aroma, prune, layers of dried berries and nut trail mix. I really don't want to drink this as I'd be content just smelling this marvelous brew for the rest of the night.

Smooth is the name of this game. Thick, silky, viscous elixir with a two minute finish. Some bittering hops on the end make you pucker as well as a woodsy bourbony flavor that leaves a wine like tannin. I would say this beer easily has another year in her if not three. Full again of fresh chopped coconut, dried cranberry, white and red raisin, dates, prune, caramel and toffee. A celebration in a glass. Nutty mid palate with a maple brown sugar twist. Have three more of these too sample each of the next three years. Can't wait. (1,208 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A musky glowing russet brown with a slim capping of tanned froth. Keeps a good collar with a few straggly branched arms of lace sticking across the glass.

Astounding aroma of maple, honey, oak soaked bourbon. Heavy, heavy, inviting as hell, warm whiskey tone to this sucker. Wow. Wonderful.

Smooth and warming with a good source of whiskey tones behind some maple, honey, vanilla, and white grape accents. Tenderly toasted malt background but huge in malted girth and warmth of gooey rich and thick caramel, maple, toffee, and minor fruityness all encompassed by one very nice powering warmth of whiskey oaken woodyness. No real finishing qualities however as it slides off the back end with an unwanted speed before the warmth sets in with just a slight backburst of crisp vanilla and left over whiskey wood.

Feel is warm, and more warm, and more warm. Strange how some beers with more then 9.3% seem to have no omff while this screams it. Big, bold, and beautiful; rich, smooth, and full. The only set back is the forementioned finish which is escapingly ghostly and parting in a manner that throws a curve in its overall, powering presence.

Be that as it may, that is what makes this quite a drinkable, dandy treat. For if it were all but power and strength, this would not be as easy to handle and may as well just be whiskey at that point.
A very nice Old Ale. Fulfilling and dreamy. (1,402 characters)

Photo of t2thebro
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-medium amber in color very little carbonation.

S- oak, caramel, sweet alcohol. Raisins, ripe apricot.

T- strong alcohol presence, blended with the perfect balance of sweet caramel and spicy hop bitterness.

M- medium heavy body, a bit of a syrupy feel great for this style!
Very drinkable for a big beer.

O- this is the first (old ale) I've had this is the best of what I could have expected.
Big beer, great flavor, very drinkable.

Enjoy! (451 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one in Grafton IL with my buddy Joe V.

A - Greyish black in the glass, this one looks like liquid smoke on top of melted tar. That sounds horrid, but I love weird looking brew! This is like some sort of witches brew.

S - Burnt rubber, liquid smoke, doused campfire, and cured meat. This smells extremely interesting... when I ordered this one, I was expecting a barleywine but this is more akin to a rauchbier; albeit with less sausage and jerky notes and more chemical-y smoke aromas. This smells like old wet moldy wood, roofing tar, freshly laid asphalt on a hot summer day. Awesome. I could sniff this for hours.

T - Tobacco, cured ham, Maduro wrapped cigar smoke, some hints of soy sauce, and salmon grilled on a cedar plank. Damn, this is one helluva complex brew!

M - Full bodied, but not as heavy as I would expect for the heavy flavor profile. This is a little too carbonated for what it is, but it feels nice enough.

D - A little too odd to have more than one at a time. This is definitely a weirdo brew for sipping and picking apart all of the crazy rubbery smoke flavors, not pint after pint sessioning. (1,132 characters)

Photo of Snow81
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber, orange, unfiltered

Smell: a bit sweet malty, carmal, heat, hoppyness

Head: after first poor, head goes down to only a little ring around the glass

Taste: get a bit of heat right of the bat, hops hit right after that and moves into carmalness, stickyness then some more heat then all over and sticking around with hops

Weight: a bit on the lighter side but it is a old ale not a barleywine

Finish: this one lingers for quite some time with hops, and carmal sickyness (494 characters)

Photo of geexploitation
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and coffee colored with minimal head. Bright mahogany highlights. Assertive aroma of bourbon-vanilla and chocolate-covered bananas. Sumptuous. Hits the palate with authority. Bourbon, vanilla, bananas again, along with sweet cream and coffee all make appearances. Just a touch of hop bitterness shows up in the finish. Very thick on the palate, as one would expect. Quite rich, flavorful, interesting old ale. Up there with the best of the American microbrewed old ales. (482 characters)

Photo of WakeandBake
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber orange with a thin off white head.Aroma of sweet caramel malts ,honey,and some woody tones.Flavor is awesome,malty caramel,sticky honey,rasins,dates spruce, and burbon. Smooth creamy mouthfeel,a little sticky in a good way. Loads of lacing all the way down the glass,a nice warming effect. Very good (318 characters)

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.56/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smooth and thick, sweet with that barrel aged tang. Curmudgeon's aroma makes you think it's not going to be as easy drinking as it is. An old ale to end all old ales. (166 characters)

Photo of carlborch
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, beautiful dark amber with a tightly knit tan head. The head is reasonable persistent, but does start to dissipate. Nicely developing Belgian lace. Rich, winy nose, with hints of cognac. Caramel, toffee, sherry, and dried fruits. Very moderate, but noticeable, hoppiness, with lingering caramel and malt notes on the palate. The roof of the mouth gets a sense of the level of alcohol, however, the alcohol level is not fully evident. Thus "caveat bibor" is appropriate. This is not a session beer or a vorspiel beer. Medium body with a sweet, long lingering. This is a multidimensional old ale. If I had the patience and cellar, I would attempt to age the Old Curmudgeon a few years to see how it develops. It should age well. A great ale to accompany hearty food and BBQ. The richness and residual sweetness would also work well with spicy food. (859 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,183 ratings.