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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: 10.55%
Wants: 187
Gots: 979 | 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: 1,204 | Hads: 4,296
Photo of projectflam86
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep murky orange/toffee color with a thin white foam head that leaves some scattered lacing.

S- Coconut, alcohol, and dark fruit are by far the easiest scents to pick out. Fairly musty.

T- A nice caramel/toffee flavor initially that gives way to fruit and coconut tastes in the finish. The alcohol is quite prominent and the aftertaste is similar to a coconut rum.

M- Decent carbonation and a medium/full body.

D- A decent brew that didn't quite live up to expectations.

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Photo of herman77
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark orange with some brown. Slight haze to it. Light tan head. Decent amount of fine bubble/spider web lacing.

S: Malt. Honey, oaky, slight whisky/alcohol. Strong dates smell as well.

T: Honey, oak/woody. Very strong candied toffee and carmel malt. Maple syrup? No real sign of hops or bitterness. It kind of tastes like a candied walnut. Boozy near the finish. Alcohol is present, but not overly present. Its defiantly there though. A malty bomb for sure.

M/D: Medium to fuller body. Pretty smooth over the palate. Low, and very soft carbonation. Drinkability is pretty low for this since its a malt bomb. Intense woody and candied malt flavors and the alcohol factor bring down the drinkability. More of a sipper. Something about this makes me think of fall. Its good, but I can't see myself ever having more then one in a night.

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Photo of thirdeye11
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Ktown67 for bringing this to me for an in person trade!

Presentation: Pours an absolutely gorgeous deep orange/rust color with no head at all from a vigorous pour, some bubbles rise to the top but don't stay around long. Laces the glass extremely well.

S: Smells very sweet. Lots of caramel in this one. Not complex, but straightforward and nice. Maybe even a little sweet smelling for a guy who loves sweet beers. Quite a bit of alcohol in the nose too.

T: Taste is oddly up front with hops and caramel both, but somehow they're not really balanced. They're just both strong flavors and don't seem to play too well together. Despite this I find the beer highly enjoyable and like how it tastes.

M: Carbonation is really nice for the style, and the weight is just right too. I wish there had been some head to give this beer some creaminess though.

D: The alcohol presence in the flavor profile might lower this some. I could probably have drank 2 of them if I had more than one, but I think given its alcohol and sweetness the line would likely be drawn at 2.

I liked this beer; in fact it was extremely similar to a local barleywine we get called Sisyphus. In fact I would probably need to have them side by side to probably notice any differences.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 Oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A- Super hazy orange/amber with almost no head to speak of with an aggressive pour. Awesome looking alcohol legs.

S- Smells of Molasses and lactose sugar, A slight bit of dark fruits as well.

T- A big bit of caramel up front followed by a wave of a light bitterness. A lot of the dark fruits come through in the middle of the mouth. A slight oakiness. No alcohol taste whatsoever.

M- Low carbonation and silky smooth, a creamy feel that goes down rather easily. Not too heavy and is easy to drink at 9.8, a slight warming. pleasant aftertaste.

O- Never had an old ale before and to be honest I was expecting a little more. I was expecting someting along the line of a barleywine and an imperial stout. This is however a nice sipping brew and I look forward to seeing how it does with age.

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Photo of schroederm
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In a snifter:

It's body is reddish with some amber in there. Pours with no head really, but it may have been too cold. Smells are inviting but subdued, and include cherry and generically estery. Quite sour. Bitter and tart finish with obvious alcohol. Cherry and molasses noteness. The sourness is overall very enjoyable. Good body, and well carbonated. The fact that the flavor is so overpowering diminishes drinkability a bit for me.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy orange color with a decent tan head. There are plenty of floaters in this one as well. The head recedes to a layer of bubbles across the top and leaves some spotty lacing all over the glass.

S- At first I can pick up some malts both sweet and caramel. Can also find alcohol, a woody smell, and bourbon.

T- Again I'm blasted by malts here. Followed up by a woody, light bourbon taste and some darker fruits that I could pick up with the nose. Alcohol finishes this one up.

M- Medium to full in body and low to medium carbonation.

D- A sipper for sure but still fairly easy to drink.

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Photo of drumrboy22
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter. Beer was a dark, rusty brown color, with a one-finger head. Light carbonation and little lacing.

Aroma was rum, brown sugar, malt and booze.

Taste was vanilla, raisins, oak, caramel, malt and light bitter hops.

Medium, not too thick mouthfeel. Not as boozy as expected. A nice sipper.

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Photo of Myotus
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled 19Jan15) into a snifter.
LOOK: Pours with half a finger's worth of off-white foam that dissipates into a line of foam within 30 seconds. Brownish red in color with a red tint. There are no visible bubbles once head settles and the beer is full of small, white particles floating around.
SMELL: Has mild aromas of green apples, figs, cherries, oak, molasses with a hint of alcohol and red grape aromas.
TASTE: Initial taste is of strong molasses, fig, cherry, and alcohol (what happened to the hints in the aroma?!) flavors. Mild green apple and oak flavors along with a hint of red grape flavors enter immediately after initial flavors as they all somewhat gradually fade and blend into an amalgam of a slightly exciting taste. FEEL: Incredibly full-bodied (I like that) and smooth (I love it). Almost no carbonation is present (I really love it!) and ends with a very dry finish (aaaaand my love is gone).
NOTE: This was a good old ale. The alcohol wasn't hidden in this one. Hide the alcohol better, and I'd rate this higher. That's just me.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber body with reddish highlights. A thin but creamy white head caps the beer and sticks around for a while.

Aroma is very sweet, molasses up frond and just plain out malty in general.

Pretty much a malt bomb on the balate with just a bit of a lingering bitterness on the end. Sweet without being too sweet, and nice oaky flavor that I've come to really appreciate.

Mouthfeel is rather full and creamy. This really compliments the malt character well.

Overall a very interesting beer, and quite different from what most American breweries are putting out these days. Certainly one I'll have again, but not in the same night.

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Photo of tone77
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of oak, dark fruits. Taste is oak, alcohol, dark fruits, malts, a light sweetness. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a good quality beer.

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Photo of davey101
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 04/19/2012. 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Dark red body. Slightly hazy with some sediment and slime rolling into the glass in the last ounce. One finger off white head settles into a thin cap. Great lacing and retention with alcoholic legs.

S - Molasses, toffee, oak, brown sugar, plums, and a touch of vanilla. A bit harsh with some alcohol notes but incredibly sweet and inviting.

T - Strong toffee notes with some molasses, brown sugar, and caramelized dark fruit sweetness. Smooth with some oak and vanilla on the end. Boozy warmth with a lasting malt bitterness.

M - Low carbonation. Body is lightly syrupy and big on the booze.

O - Excellent aroma and a great taste, but the booze creeps up fast and becomes a bit too much. Some aging would do wonders on this beer, but at a few months old its not terribly impressive. I do prefer Old Stock to this.

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Photo of Auracom
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fairly fresh bottle picked up from MSCM. 12 oz. poured into a CBS snifter on June 3rd, 2012.

A - Looks a bit like Backwoods Bastard, meaning lighter (than expected) cognac clarity and coloring with minimal eggshell head. Mostly amounts to edge-clinging bubbles. Marginal retention and lacing. Low to moderate alcohol legs.

S - Absolute must to get this one at cellar (or even room) temp, otherwise it's just too mellow. I get a mix of Quadruple and Old Ale/Barleywine aromas. Maple syrup, light molasses. Dark, winter fruit - figs and plums moreso than raisins. Slight spicyness. The oak barrel lies on the fringe of the nose. No alcohol presence.

T - Very little sweetness overall. This leans much more in the direction of ripened dark fruit and rich chocolate bitterness. Moderate to heavy rye spice and breadiness from mid palate through the back end. Maple wood, earth, lightly-charred oak barrel, and further syrup. Balanced aftertaste of bitter resin and malt grains. Minimal alcohol warming through the finish.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, somewhat smooth, semi-dry finish with barrel-like finishing qualities.

D - I like this. It has a lot of the elements I would hope for in a well-made English-style Barleywine/Old Ale and seems to do just fine without the addition of some form of liquor or wine barrel. The taste is noticeably better than the aroma. I'm not sure this has enough body to stand the test of time in a cellar and show significant improvement, though I think it's worth the gamble.

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Photo of Hokies
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a copper shade with some reddish hues and a decent one inch off white head. A little lace lasts and sticks to the side of the glass.

The aroma is filled with sweet caramel malts, molasses and oak.

The alcohol is quite warm with strong molasses and malt notes. Some dark fruits lie underneath the malt with some raisin notes. The oak does tend to mellow the alcohol but it would do well with some aging.

With the alcohol being quite hot on this one I would expect it to be tough to drink but gets better was it warms. Probably will buy again and age it.

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Appalachian Vintner in Asheville. 2010 vintage.

A: Murky, hazy amber with suspended sediment. An aggressive pour leads to a thin sliver of an off white head, which quickly recedes to bubbly puddles and a white thin halo. No visible carbonation in the body.

S: Caramel, molasses, boozy cider notes off the initial pour. As it warms, I get some candied sugar and raisins.

T: Molasses and caramel off the bat, followed by some vanilla. Some muted fruit notes: pear in particular. Bitter crabapple hop notes on the aftertaste.

M: Not great; actually quite average. Slightly watery, with a bit of carb and a touch of warming booze. Mediocre.

O: I was expecting a lot more depth from a vintage version of this--maybe I need to have it fresher. Not bad, but not worth the price tag.

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Photo of BostonBrewins
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a translucent dark brown with a white head which quickly dissipates. Some lacing as well.

S - Wow the smell really packs a punch. Smells very sweet. I can really smell the molasses.

T - Based on the sweet smell, I wasn't expecting a balanced beer. I could not have been more wrong. Earthy, hoppiness balances out the sweet, malty flavor very nicely. Closes out with an expected alcoholic finish.

M - Full bodied, somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Low carbonation level.

D - While this might not exactly qualify as a session beer, I found this to be very drinkable. I think the high level of bitterness really helps offset the sweet, slightly syrupy aspects.

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Photo of dheacck11
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice deep burnt orange color with thin head and scant lacing.

Honey, caramel, malt on the nose.

Little shot of scotch to start, followed by ripe wood, honeysuckle, some hints of molasses. Very gentle hoppiness. Not boozy at all

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little bite at the end. Ends up feeling thicker than it actually is at first.

A solid old ale example, but could be a little more complex with the scotch flavors. Would also have liked a little bit more body, and to taste the booze a little bit...

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

09/04/10- Had this on on-tap at the Founders brewpub.
A: Burnt orange, nice large cream head.
S: Spicy (almost pumpkin pie), cinnamon brown sugar. Not very strong.
T: Caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, sweet malt, with a green leafy hops finish.
M: Very creamy, frothy, and moderately syrupy.
D: One glass is good. It is a little too spicy.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Super hazy copper/orange color with some floating bits debris. Very thin off-white head.

Aroma: Hoppy with a distinct honey-like aroma. Hops contribute a piney, near-grapefruit like character and there is a smoothness to the aroma that suggests the oak-aging.

Taste: Starts smooth with a soft caramel flavor from the malt. The bitterness begins to creep in by the second half and peaks at a moderate bitterness on the finish. The hop flavor is not well defined because the aging process has forgone most of the citrus or truly piney flavors that seem to fade the quickest. What's left is a slightly earthy flavor that is more bitterness than anything else which helps to balance out what would otherwise be a very sweet beer. The 9.8% ABV is slightly detectable during the finish but doesn't present itself at any time in the taste. The yeast seems to have contributed hints of raisin and plum. Those flavors develop as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Between medium and full in body. Mellow carbonation and average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I couldn't detect any molasses in the flavor, but Curmudgeon Old Ale is pretty much as advertised. If you like Old Ales and Barleywines but don't want the big bitterness that goes along with them then I'd recommend it. The oak-aging has really smoothed out the hops and given an interesting mix of flavors. Would I drink it again? Unlikely, too many other beers to try at this point.

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Photo of mychalg9
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12 oz bottle into globe

A - Not a lot of head despite fairly vigorous pour. Color is a deep reddish-brown color. Thinner looking than it seems it would be. A very nice looking old ale. It lets you know it's a sipper.

S - Not a whole lot in the nose. No noticeable hops. A bit of dark fruits - fig, plum

T - Juicy dark fruits, vanilla, caramel, maybe a touch of leather. Excellent finish with a slight alcohol burn

M - I like the body of this one despite the thin appearance. Carbonation is just right, a little on the low side.

O - Another score for Founders. I tend to feel like they get the styles "just right", and this is no exception. Well done!

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Photo of boomer31
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

A - Burnt orange transparent with thin white head that briefly sticks to glass

S - Sweet and sugary caramel malts

T - The malt is very sweet. Sugar and a touch of toffee flavor. No bitterness at all. Perhaps some wood here

M - Thin and soft carbonation. The sugary malt sticks to your mouth. Not overwhelminly sweet but very close

D - Very sweet and sugary. A sipper for sure.

Overall this is an interesting beer. It reminds me of a sweet English B-wine after a year or so in the bottle

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Photo of KajII
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a murky caramel brown with a slight reddish hue and an average (1-2 fingers) off white creamy head that was mostly lasting, reducing to a puddled film and medium collar with excellent sheets of sticky lacing.

The aroma was of a toasted biscuit malt and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel, toffee, vanilla, dark fruit (raisons & cherries), oak cask and a little above mild scent of alcohol.

The taste was malty sweet with a decent touch of caramel and toffee early on, and then progressed with a mild yeast presence, a light fruitiness, a hint of oak and had a sweet alcohol finish. The flavor lasted an average duration after the swallow, with the malty sweetness and a slight alcohol warming left to linger on the taste buds a bit longer.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and syrupy in texture with a nice soft carbonation.

Overall what is there to be said but 'This brewer does it again". This is a really good brew, with a great balance and awesome taste...


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Photo of berkey
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured and reviewed from my usual tulip glass 10/05/10.

Pours a dark reddish amber color. Doesn't form much of a head but some decent lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as I rotate it.

Just a hair hoppier than typical for an old ale but the main aromas are of caramel with some slight toffee notes. Flavor adds a difficult to identify 'cookie'-like character and some slightly acrid bitterness. Pleasant enough but missing some of the richness and complexity I look for in the style.

This somehow manages to remain pretty easy drinking even though the alcohol isn't all that well hidden. A decent beer but not quite sure I can really say it's anywhere near some of the great Founders brews I've tried.

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Photo of czoch75
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried this one last night and was expecting a little more but still somewhat satisfied. This one really packs a punch! ABV states 9.3 but feels much more than that.

A: poured into glass and noticed a cloudy amber color. Absolutley no head retention whatsoever and looked a little syrupy.

S: smell was really sweet and a bit of the bourbon comes through.

T: really smooth to start off and a bit of a warming to it. Can really pick up the bourbon taste to it, never had one this prominent before but rather tasty!

M: a heavy drink, little carbonation but just right. Aftertaste was...you guessed it, bourbon/whiskey or spirit like.

D: this is a good one to sip on, a little over the top on the Bourbon taste but pretty good. Should probably let sit for a year to mellow out the taste. I think I will go buy some more before it's too late and let it sit in my cellar.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

A: Amber copper cloudy with half centimeter chunks of off white and other particles floating within, a finger of creamy yellow tinged head, a fair amount of super fast rising small bubbles.

S: Glue, caramel, barley wine like alcohol quality, toffee cake, light fruity banana bread.

T: Banana bread, floral, reminiscent of barley wine, thick and bready, definite alcohol presence on the back of the tongue, light bitter hopping. Carnival like caramel and floral like candy floss.

M: Thick syrupy and bready body, medium low carbonation.

O: More thick and syrupy than I like, and reminds me of a barley wine which I am no fan of. Well done, but in my opinion not the best Old Ale out there, a little thick and overly sweet. Even so, has some good old ale qualities of maltiness, light colour, etc. Drank on June 14, 2014.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/4/11
Deep amber colored, clear but with some suspended particles. There was a very attractive, one finger creamy white head that dissipated way to quickly. There was little carbonation.
A very sweet malty beer that tasted like honey, caramel, and I could also taste the alcohol.
It smelled like it tasted, sweet, notes of honey and alcohol.
This beer was silky smooth, mouth coating and added some alcohol heat on the finish. A very nice combination that added to the overall complexity.
I enjoyed this beer. I'm not as familiar with the style but enjoyed Curmudgeon enough to explore the style more thoroughly. I have one more 2011 left that I'll be holding on to till next year.

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