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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,188 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,188
Hads: 4,207
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 177
Gots: 945 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,188 | Hads: 4,207
Photo of andylipp
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Appearance -A deep orange amber pour with ¼ inch of head in my tulip. The head quickly dissipated to a thin slick. Coats the glass with each swirl.

Smell -Sweet malt, caramel, alcohol, wood, brandy and port.

Taste -A malty toffee sweetness quickly gives way to an extremely complex palate of dried fruits, oak, whiskey, some hoppy bitterness and a long, woody finish. A late hint of vanilla/caramel in the finish, also. Nice.

Mouthfeel -The body had some nice viscosity to it, yet the carbonation was a bit too skimpy for me. Warming alcohol as it goes down.

Drinkability- It's a sipper, to be sure. More than one at a sitting would be too much. It shows every bit of it's ABV in every sip, yet it is fairly smooth.

Comments- I wondering if a few months in the bottle might take the remaining edges off of this one (but the screw-off cap makes me hesitant to try it). (889 characters)

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours out a dark orange/brown in color. Similar to that of apple cider. Very little head that fades fast and no lacing.

S: Not too much on the senses, grainy malts in the back.

T: Sweet on the intake, little hop action in the middle, malts in the back. Heat from the booze finishes things off.

M: Medium body, little sticky action, abv noticeable, moderate carbonation.

D: A good sipper, I'll leave it at that. Would do better with some age on it. (504 characters)

Photo of zac16125
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: none, must have rubbed off

A: Pours a dark copper, nearly brown with just under 1 fingers width of tan head. Head dissipates down at a moderate rate and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Tart apples, candied sugar, molasses, subtle caramel. Interesting, but not terribly complex.

T: Pretty big sweetness with caramel, candied sugar, and molasses. Some cocoa and oak notes. Subtle bitterness. Taste is more like an old ale than the aroma, and is quite good.

M/D: Medium bodied, a bit thinner than I anticipated. Carbonation on the heavier end. ABV is very well masked and drinkability is good.

O: Good, not great but certainly worth a drink. And with its mass availability its probably something I will visit a couple times a year. (779 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: brown, perfect clarity. white head that leaves a lacing behind

Smell: malts, molasses sweetness, touch of oak, alcohol

Taste: dark crystal malts giving off sweetness and dark fruits, toffee, molasses, alcohol, oak. nicely complex and very hot. very unique

Mouthfeel: warming, heavy and pretty creamy

Overall: A great beer. taste good fresh but improves with age. a good one to find on the shelves every year and to buy a few and drink what you can and cellar the rest. (484 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled April 2012. Tasted 8 November 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a medium dusty amber brown. Can't see through it, but I can see far enough into it to detect some little particles suspended in it. Surprised by that, as I can't remember another Founders beer that had yeast or floaties in it. Half finger of yellowish head, gone fast little lacing. Not the best on appearance.

Smell is malty and rich, full of dark fruit. Slightly smoky. Also has a light alcoholic air.

Taste is definitely in the realm that I'm looking for, but it's not much beyond that. Malty, semi-sweet, and tasty, but lacking real depth. I don't know, I guess I was expecting more from this beer. Alcohol presence was big at first, but faded as it warmed. It reminds me a great barleywine that's had the best of it sucked out.

Medium-heavy body, kinda weighing on my tongue. Medium-low carbonation. Feel is just fine.

This beer is close to being really good, but it's lacking the punch, the depth, the pronounced flavors that I was hoping for. Not bad, but for a big malty beer (which I tend to love), it didn't wow me. (1,101 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single bottle into a regular snifter late at night.

A- Curmudgeon is a dark amber color with some brown hints. Not much of a head but some tan foam reaches half an inch than fades. No lacing plus some sediment is seen floating.

S- This old ale has a deep smell of rich sweet malts giving off caramel, plus some burnt sugars. This years version has more of a hop aroma than I remember it, but they fade as this warms. Some oak/vanilla and dark fruit such as plum. A nice smell of raisins.

T- A really nice balance between the sweet malt giving off a bready vibe and dark fruits consisting of mainly dates and raisins. I got some hops on first sips but that faded as I got more into it. The little hint of vanilla is a nice touch. Some alcohol seeps through. Has some vinious hints here and there. Nice.

M- A very sweet and thick oily texture while this is somewhere above medium bodied. A bit of hotness from the alcohol but well contained for a near 10% old ale plus fairly fresh. Very faint bitterness from the hops, nothing major. A good one to let marinate on the tounge.

D- I usually take my time with big abv beers but this went down without a hitch. The alcohol is barely noticable in taste yet the flavors are just so full this becomes too inviting almost. Not my favorite founders beer but a great stab at the old ale category and worthy for repeat visits and slight aging. (1,391 characters)

Photo of hckyfn9999
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky golden brown color with a small white head. Aroma is full of sweet caramel and honey. There is also some fruit present.

Taste is sweet with caramel, honey, and raisins present. The finish is roasted, with almost a smokiness, and slightly dry and bitter. There is a hint of dark fruit in the background too. Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied. (357 characters)

Photo of Florida9
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap @ Durty Nellies

A: Served in a snifter with about a finger of off-white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing. Deep brown in color, but still very translucent.

S: Beautifully aromatic. Scent of oak and vanilla. Quite boozy with a little sweetness. Reminiscent of bourbon barrel aged beers.

T: Interesting. Starts off sweet and alcoholic with a little tannin and a little vanilla on the tongue as well as the flavor of lightly brewed tea. However, the flavor drops off quickly and the finish is incredibly short for this style of beer.

M: Surprisingly thin. Medium carbonation.

D: Very good, but probably shouldn't be. I was expecting a much more complex, heavy-hitting style of beer with this one and what I got was a very good, but shallow and thin old ale. (773 characters)

Photo of hardy008
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with no head. Smell is of sweet caramel malt, a variety of fruit, and a whiff of alcohol. This is a sweet beer with noticeable alcohol, and hop bitterness which makes this one nicely balanced. Can taste pears and dark fruits. Medium to full bodied, well carbonated. The drinkability is good, but the alcohol is more noticeable than I would like. This is still a good beer which I would buy again. (417 characters)

Photo of bonk0076
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish amber color, hazy, with a moderate head. Aroma is of hops, with citrus and fruity notes as well as molasses. Taste is very sweet - molasses and caramel, with a slight hint of pine. Fills the mouth with a full flavor. But offers a quick finish. (260 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at The Oak Cafe. Pours a dense copper color with a small-ish, off-white head that leaves a bit of lacing at first but fades away about halfway through the glass. The smell is rather basic and just a tad plain, full of malts, caramels, and roasted toffee. The taste delivers a bit more than the smell would lead on - up front with a nice, malty base, a warm, toasty flavor, heavy oak on the tongue with a slight bourbon taste and burn on the back of the tongue and the sides of the mouth. About halfway through the sip, some intense sweetness arrives, in the form of tart apple, grapes, and ripe raisins. All the while, some subtle cinnamon spices are dangling around in the background. The sip ends with a light splash of floral hops and a lasting bitterness that balances out the sweetness as the flavor slowly fades away. Thick and overall pretty smooth body, medium amount of carbonation.

This beer was pretty good. Not much on the nose, but really quite a complex flavor profile ranging from warm to sweet to spicy to bitter. Not something I'd drink more than one of, but definitely worthy of trying. (1,112 characters)

Photo of Spider889
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to msulinski for this bottle. Not sure why I've never seen this in OH (sent to me from PA, and I saw it while in Chicago last month).

Live review.

First thing I noticed was that the cap pried off too easily. Wait, is that glue gunk around the lip of the bottle? No... huh? Screw-off... seriously? Is this old, or old habit for this beer? A Founders first for me, at least.

My second notion is that there's very little carbonation going on here. With a tall pour it get a slow-to-rise head of cream colored bubbles that dissipate much more quickly than they appeared. The beer itself is a hazy copper color in my snifter. Looks like this one will be leaving some splotchy residuals but no real lace to speak of...

The third and most prominent thing I noticed (upon pouring) was the smell - thick and sweet bourbon. Ahh, Founders, your barrel-aging program is predictably recognizable, and yet about as good as it possibly gets. I am immediately reminded of Backwoods Bastard. Vanilla, lots of oak, sweet but not alcoholic bourbon notes are most predominant. The malt is also very apparent - more so than in Backwoods Bastard (which I cannot help but continually compare each aspect of this beer to now). Light chocolate and maple waft in and out along with sweet pipe smoke.

The flavor is also similar to Backwoods, but not entirely the same. Curmudgeon is frankly not as potent, and therefor, not as inviting for me. Still, plenty of flavor going on here. The bourbon is the front-runner - as in Backwoods, Curmudgeon has a flavor profile built around the barrel aging rather than the reverse. Sweet toffee and vanilla play with boozy bourbon. This is also much more bitter than I would have expected. Very smooth, but with a bite on the swallow.

The mouthfeel is smooth - too smooth. This beer borders on flat, which takes an appropriately low carbonation level for this style too far imo. Very dry as well.

I like this, but then, it's hard not to enjoy anything Founders puts into their barrels. But as stated numerous times in this review, Curmudgeon is very similar to Backwoods Bastard. So much so, that I would be happy to take a Backwoods over this any and every time. Good beer, but not great. But hey, Founders has that covered. ;-) (2,255 characters)

Photo of marcobrau
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Curmudgeon pours a very hazy light brown color without much foam, but enough of a head that settles to a nice collar. The aroma is intoxicating (alcoholic) with a dusty sort of caramel-toffee character. This is a fairly tasty Old Ale for sure, albeit a very intoxicating one. It has the sugary sweet caramel notes that I like in an old ale, along with an interesting bourbon character, but could use some more fruitiness and not as much alcohol coming through. Perhaps this brew just needs some more aging. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and quite good, although the body is a touch thin. A highly alcoholic Old Ale for sure, but still good. One at a time is probably a good idea.

Thanks go to RedBaron for the bottle. (718 characters)

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn Heights, MI, in March 2008 for $3.99. That's a pricy one!

Pours a moderately cloudy brown with minimal head, only a thin whisp after a few minutes.

Aromas of dark fruits (cherries, figs and dates come to mind), dark bread malts, and heavily varnished wood.

Flavor includes the heavy, rich malts and moderately sweet dark fruits. A strong fusel alcohol burn doesn't so much go down my throat as evaporated up my sinuses. Heavy syrupy mouthfeel makes this a sipper, one to enjoy slowly.

Tasty, enjoyable, a good version of the style. And since I want to be a curmudgeon some day, this is a good one to get used to! Seriously, a little to strong and rich for me, a decent once in a while beer, maybe in smaller than 12 ounce servings. (789 characters)

Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

time for a new review, new review with a bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, NC, old one performed mid-2006 with a bottle from dirtylou follows

a: head is very light but that's expected here, the beer is a darker orange-brown in color

s: boozy and bourbon-esque caramel malts make up the grain body here, sweet dried dates soaked in booze, oak vanilla despite no barrel aging, vanilla confections, concentrated white fig juice, a touch spicy, hops low, quite nice, huge alcohol presence the only issue

m: low carbonation and full body, has the makings of a good mouthfeel but is a little dull and unimpressive

t: caramel malts with a gentle nutty toffee note towards the finish, boozy with a touch of bourbony oak at the end as a medium bitterness creeps in, moderately sweet, a little restrained for my tastes (put plainly, on the bland side) but well-rounded

d: a little hot but that's not really much of a detractor given the style, pretty easy

appearance: The pour into my snifter gives a low tan head that soon becomes nothing but a very thin ring around the glass. The beer is a deep, reddish brown in color.
smell: grainy caramel malt sweetness at the head...a little woody. A touch of cola and milk chocolate. Dried figs and dates. Light hop aroma.
mouthfeel: The carbonation is low and gentle, and the body full
taste: moderate sweetness, lightly nutty malt character upfront...clean and without a ton of complexity but still tasty. Some milk chocolate after the swallow. Dark fruits, maybe some dates. Not as rich in flavor as I had hoped, but pretty good nonetheless. Light to moderate hop flavor with a medium bitterness and a touch of ethanol.
drinkability: Alcohol light, and a good beer that could use some character
Shipped from dirtylou sometime last spring and cellared since.
a4/s4/m4/t3.5/d4 (1,824 characters)

Photo of Brent
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm never clear on where the line is drawn between an old ale and a barleywine - this beer could happily land in either category. Body is a bit syrupy, redolent with dark, aged fruit flavors - prune most apparentl A boozy edge is a slight detraction. Finish is smooth with a lasting caramel note. (296 characters)

Photo of tzieser
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Got this on tap @ sunset grill and tap in Brighton.

Poured a deep dark brown with a very small head that simmered into almost no lacing

Smelled extremely malty and oak-y. Extreme malt smells, with some hints of alcohol. Hops are practically non-existent

Tastes great. I don't have much experience with Old Ales (save for Ola Dubh), but I'd imagine they would taste very similar to this. Very, very malty...probably caramal malts that have turned into a very unique taste with age....very very woody, oak-y taste dominates the pallate. No hops here. I liked the old flavor very much. It tastes musty-- like an old attic would smell like (if you could imagine). The 10% abv is well-hidden by the way

Mouthfeel was good, a little oily, but I'd imagine thats what the style is supposed to be

drinkability is pretty bad. the beer tastes great, i just could'nt imagine coming back for more....especially at 8.99 a 13ouncer

Overall- I was gonna get this, but at 15 bucks a 4 pack-- I backed off. I had to get it when I saw it on tap. I'd say definitely get it if you see it on tap, but don't bother getting a 4 pack....unless you love old ales... (1,145 characters)

Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stout glass.

A: Pours a murky caramel color with a nice tuft of egg-shell foam. Good retention and lacing.

S: Tangerine, molasses, caramel, green grape skin, woody spice.

T: Huge sweet molasses, tangerine, big coconut and mild vanilla, brown sugar, sweet hop resin, ripe grapes, solvent alcohol, brown bread, a bit of burnt grain and pleasantly warming alcohol on the end. Sweet molasses and oak lingers.

M: Soft, almost light-bodied. Bit of creaminess from the carbonation.

O: Very sweet from the molasses, almost overly so. Pretty decent. (578 characters)

Photo of alcstradamus
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky copper color, hard pour yields not much more than a quarter inch of quickly receding head.

Smell is caramel with deep wood and alcohol notes. Floral hops are quite pungent as well.

Taste starts off with some nice caramel malts and oak, but a little bit of mustiness creeps in and prevents the flavor from really shining to its true potential. Lots of bitter pine hops on the back end. Tastes sort of like an aged american barleywine, the musty aspect is the only real negative.

Medium bodied, some alcohol burn in the finish. Perhaps needs some time, I was surprised at hotness of this one.

Nice beer, the alcohol heat is the downfall in terms of drinkability though. Worth buying maybe once a year, but I wouldn't want it much more than that. (761 characters)

Photo of crossovert
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Bottled 2/10/10.

Pours into my snifter a beautiful clear reddish orange with a creamy ivory head that lasts for a good amount of time before slowly receding and leaving some nice lacing.

The smell is luscoius. There is tons of caramel and butterscotch. It is also earthy with a touch of hops. There is also a stark dark fruit scent. It is a very luxurious looking and smelling beer.

The taste isn't as good as the other two but it is very good. It is alot more bitter than expected with a nice hop bite. The malt is here too and it is almost cloyingly sweet. There is an abundance of caramel on the palate.

The mouthfeel is thick but has a nice, smooth carbonation, it is slightly cloying but not overly form the sugar and alcohol.

The alcohol in this one isn't perfectly hidden but it works well and makes this one feel like a strong barleywine going down.

Overall it is one beautiful looking and beautifully scented brew, the taste is good but not spectacular. (983 characters)

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark amber color with slight ruby accents and a small tan head on it that quickly dissipated into nothing and left no lacing. The smell is dominant of dark fruits (plums and raisins) and caramel malt. I consider this a "malty" nose, and I like it on this cool fall evening. The flavor profile hits heavy with all of the caramel malt in the nose coming full force on the palate with other flavors or dark fruit, banana, and a spot of sweet molasses, but the alcohol in this offering also comes through in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation and a good shot of warming alcohol is present. The drinkability is very good on this beer, and I could have easily drank another one.

Another great beer from Founders. (763 characters)

Photo of kmeves
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy copper/brown with a small beige head. Aroma is sweet raisin, caramel, cherry, nutty, light chocolate, smoke, butterscotch andwood. Flavor is cherry, caramel, raisin, light pineapple and light nutty. Finish is a bit hot and also has some bourbon notes. Full bodied, sticky texture. Low carbonation. (312 characters)

Photo of Jayli
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a cloudy mahogany. Very small tan head even with a rigorous pour. Not much lacing to speak of. The nose is VERY rich. There are amber malts, dark fruits (most notably black cherries), vanilla, and some very mild piney hops. Taste begins with piney hops, more than the nose hinted at. It's followed by raisiny-sweet amber malts and a touch of whiskey/bourbon in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth, with a very rich and full bodied, very light on the carbonation...I would have liked a bit more carbonation though. Alcohol is present, it definitely warms you on the way down. This is a pretty intense beer - first that I have had of this style. Can't say that I could drink a lot of these, but was nice for a night when you're in the mood to kick back and enjoy a beer. (784 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Curmudgeon has a brownish-red body and a finger or so of tan head that has good retention and minimal lacing.

Tons of malt in the nose with a lot of warmth as well.

The two words that describe Curmudgeon best are definitely sweet and boozy. A touch of hops comes through with some earthy flavors and a punch of citrus as well as a bit of bitterness, but it's all malt after that. Big notes of molasses mix with caramel and toffee. All three are well represented here and combine to give the beer a flavor that is something like pudding. Dark fruits come next, and they taste as if they were soaked in booze. A little bit of powdery cocoa dries things out a bit, as well as a spicy oak flavor, but mostly this one is all sweet and heat. The finish is quite hot actually.

Hot on the tongue, with a body that is a touch thinner than I would expect, but still solid.

Curmudgeon is somewhere between Old Ale and Barleywine, and although it is drinkable, the nearly 10%ABV is unsurprising. (987 characters)

Photo of pootz
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Something special for a great warmer on this cold October evening.

Poured an opaque dark brown ale in the glass with a 1 finger tan cap that reduced to a surface clinging lace .

Aromas of dark dried fruits, mustiness oak barreld whisky.

Thick malt spine, oily mouth feel, rich complex boozy character.

Up front you chew on some thick date muffins then a rush of complex layered flavors: raisins, vanilla with coconut, white chocolate, cherries in brandy over the smokey oak -earthy musty tones...finishes up long and wet where the hops attack the complexity and the alcohol shows up, the result is near an oak barreld burbon flavor in the finish.

This ale delivers quite a lot of strength and flavor and comes off like a burbon whisky flavored barley wine....very nicely done.

My sample was fairly young but I bet some time in the cellar would really mellow this and bring out even more complexity (916 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,188 ratings.