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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
89
very good
1,252 Reviews
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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,252
Ratings:
4,546
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
10.55%
 
 
Wants:
203
Gots:
1,105
For Trade:
53
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,252 | Ratings: 4,546
Photo of jlandis
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy copper with one finger white head that slowly fades into a thin ring. The aroma is very inviting with caramel and toffee with a hint of sweet cherries and brown sugar. The taste is much more complex than I was expecting from the aroma. There is the predominant caramel and toffee sweetness with a great cherry sweetness. In the background there is a tobacco and oak that mingles with the alcohol to make a fantastic presentation. The carbonation is light and the rich.

This is a solid beer. I remember the first time that I had it I absolutely hated it, but now with a second go around and a better understanding of what an "old ale" is I can really appreciate this one. Perfect for a cooler autumn evening.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Odds and Ends Tasting on 8/16/06: Dark amber/brown color with a thin beige head that starts fizzy but calms quickly. Thin spotty lacing. Aroma of whisky, coconut and dark fruits. Rich, smooth body with pungent malt, bourbon and other spicy alcohol flavors. The finish is all coconut and whisky. Definitely different from the norm, and seems pretty raw all around. I would be curious to try an aged bottle.

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Photo of silentjay
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a bit lighter than i expected with a nice sized light tan head made up of large bubbles that laces well.

rather light aroma of raisins, some vanilla and oakiness, toffee, and caramel.

flavor starts with raisins, dark fruits, a bit of a metallic sensation, but is smoothed out a subtle oakiness with some smooth caramel sweetness that gives way to a slight alcohol heat on the finish.

a bit thin with very little carbonation.

I thought it would be a bit stronger in aroma and flavor with a thicker feel, but its still tasty.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper to brown with orange and ruby hues and only a thin off white head that is nearly nonexistent just seconds after the pour although a thin sheet of lacing does exist.

Aroma consists of sweet malt and dark sweet fruits as well as a touch of brown sugar.

The flavor is similar but much more pronounced, featuring sweet fruits, warming alcohol, and an earthy hop presence at the finish as well as a similar hint of sugar.

Medium to thick in body and carbonation with a nice warming alcohol sensation.

Perhaps not a perfect representation of the style, but quite enjoyable and very easy to drink considering the style characteristics and abv.

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

As we can perhaps discern from the label, this is an unapologetic, strong beer. It pours a dense, cloudy brown color, and has an oaky, almost scotch-like scent. It tastes like an english ale with a dollop of good whisky; although it has a certain pervasive boozy flavor, one that is certainly somewhat unbalanced, it's appropriate for the style. This is a full-bodied beer, almost to the point of chewiness. It's not what I'd call eminently drinkable, because of its kick; I found myself sipping it absently, like a neat whisky.

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Photo of andylipp
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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).

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Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of zac16125
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of Florida9
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of hardy008
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look (3.75): Slight haze to it with an amber brownish and ruby hue. Not a massive carbonation to it. Small sticky head.

Smell (3.5): An oaky and maple syrup like kind of aroma. Some floral notes, maybe a bitter like coffee smell, but neither are intense. Some vanilla and coconut from the wood.

Taste (3.75): Again, a ton of oakiness everywhere. At first you're hit with big caramel malty flavors. There are big bready and perhaps cherry notes in there, but not estery fruit ones. Some slight bitterness and black pepper spice at the end. Some vanilla and coconut from the wood.

Mouthfeel (4.5): This is the best part. I'm fairly certain the oak used in this is lightly toasted American Oak. You get those classic coconut and vanilla smells out of it. This also gives it a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel as it warms up. Very nice =)

Overall (4): This seems like a cool brew that would get pretty interesting as it ages. I'll have to experience with it more that way.

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Photo of bonk0076
3.82/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of Spider889
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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. ;-)

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Photo of marcobrau
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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

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Photo of Brent
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of tzieser
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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...

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Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of alcstradamus
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,252 ratings.