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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

1,203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 4,289
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 979 | FT: 53
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: 1,203 | Hads: 4,289
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright red body, murky, with plenty of near microscopic carbonation streams. Topped by a three finger loose light beige head, which quickly drops to one finger and stablizes. Light lacing traces.

Interesting light and clean fruity (grape?)aroma.

Lightly sweet beginning. Big burst of fruit. Citrus with a cherry finish. Alcohol firebomb in the belly. Clean finish.

Smooth slick medium plus mouthfeel. Alcohol fades quick which keeps drinkability high.

Nice change of pace here in big hop season. Takes the chill out of your bones.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz single purchased for me by a friend at Jungle Jim's in Ohio. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy light brown color with some orange highlights and a fair amount of floaties. It has a light covering of bubbles that disappear almost as fast as they arrive. The ring of bubbles leaves a tiny amount of lacing until they finally disappear.

S: The main aroma is of bourbon. Is this one barrel aged? Luckily I love bourbon, because I am not picking up much of anything else in this one.

T: A nice caramel malt sweetness when it initially hits the tongue. Just a slight about of hop bitterness to balance the malt. Hints of bourbon in the flavor add a bit of complexity. This is a good example of an Old Ale that definitely has some individuality over its barleywine cousins.

M: Nice medium body with a creamy carbonation that makes it smooth.

D: Compared to the few Old Ales I have had, this one goes down extremely easy. No alcohol burn at all.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours medium brown, with dark ruby tinting. Minimal head forms and quickly dissipates. Lacing is thick and fairly sticky.

Big malty sweetness. Slight buttery smell with a touch of vanilla. Somewhat bourbon or scotch like. Mild hints of dark fruits. Mild fusel alcohol.

Big malts dominate here, also. Sweet and rich. Dark bread notes. Raisins. Nice caramel notes. Alcohol presence cuts the sweetness and offers a very nice amount of balance.
Full flavored and not for the weak.
For those who like scotch ales, or just plain scotch whiskey, for that matter, this is highly recommended.

Thick, viscous and oily. This one definitely qualifies as 'chewey'. Yet still smooth.
Very low carbonation levels.

This one is a good example of why I like Old Ales so much. Also, why Founders is becoming one of my favorite breweries. So much of their line is just damn tasty.
I could drink alot of these.

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Photo of kbeals
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sort of a viscous pour, very little head with a bit of lacing. Looks about the color of apple cider, some floaties. Smell is a bit citrusy with sweet malts, an alcohol smell makes quite a presence also. Tastes exactly like scotch, maybe a bit sweeter though, not much to this one. Chest is warmed up nicely from the alcohol, though. This is the first Founder's brew I probably would never buy again.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: clear copper and amber

Smell: very dense, sweet smell. perhaps a little bourbon cask hint. alcohol hides nicely. little buttery. maybe a hint of vanilla

Taste: great balance between flavors and alcohol. buttery and sweet malt.

Mouthfeel: low-full body. little carbonation. very smooth and rich

Notes: huge fan of stock ales and barleywines. this one is just how i like these styles - strong, rich, sweet, and virtually no hops.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby with no freshness date; unfiltered, 50 IBUs. The beer is a deep, dark crimson, filled with floaties, and capped with a thick finger of yellowed head. Very enticing aroma, with raisins and spices, sweet bread, caramel, brown sugar, fruitcake, a hint of diacetyl and suggestions of molasses, chocolate and pecans. Lots of spicy hop flavor and bitterness, balanced by fruity alcohol and a chewy, complex maltiness that imparts ripe raisin and sweet, dark bread. The body is thick and coating, powdery at times, and leaves a medium finish. This is a hugely malty beer with enough hops to balance, and makes for a delicious evening sipper.

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Photo of Keith238
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hints of caramel and vanilla in the nose. Very malty with a nice oak flavor. Could be a nice step up in alcohol and hoppiness for lovers of scotch ales. The alcohol and hops cut through the very thick maltyness of this brew and help bring it into balance. Very drinkable. Yet another great brew from Founders.

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. The four-pack carrier claims it's 9.8% abv (vs. the 9.3% recorded here on the site).
Poured an almost dark orange color, I liked the way it looked. There was a lot going on in the smell. This being my first real old ale, I didn't know what to expect, but I got sweet smells from all over the spectrum. Caramel, fruit, etc. Interesting, but a little cloying. Fortunately, the taste wasn't so sick, yeah it was intense and really sweet, but the alcohol cut through the sweetness just enough to make it pretty darn good. All in all, I wasn't in a hurry to have another one and I move on for the remainder of the evening, but I did enjoy this beer and would have another some other time. Founders is studly, they just crank out hit after hit.

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Photo of stumac
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

this brew pours up a cloudy amber color with a nice thin layer of yellow-tan head. great lacing, baby. the nose is subtle chocolate chip cookies, a little yeast, mint, sweet malts. the taste is the same as the nose. yeast, caramel, hop bitterness in the finish, buttery, delicious. leaves a sticky coating in your mouth. medium carbo, low low carbo. good ol' Founders...

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Photo of Mauerhan
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours into my sam adams better glass. a rusty orange color. a nice one and a half finger head. small bits of soapy lacing.

smells sweet. slightly citrusy. candied sugar.

taste is smooth. a nice malt presence. subtle hop bitterness.

Well balanced. Smooth carbonation, not too sweet. Smooth hops throughout. Definately controlling the pallate.

not my favorite old ale but it is still pretty good. I would like to see what it would be like with a bit of age.

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a semi-opaque, dirty, orange/brown color with a small, tan , foamy head. It left soapy residue on the sides of the glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, some malt and boozy alcohol. Overall, a very sweet smelling nose.

T - The first fews sips were like drinking Brach caramels. Delicious! As it continued to warm the caramel flavor mellowed and it had a slight fruity taste emerge. A boozy alcohol flavor starts to come through as well.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is possibly the best old ale that I've ever had. It was sweet and delicious. It only gets a 4 on drinkability because it is so sweet and so potent.

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Photo of timmay41
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. The four-pack carrier claims it's 9.8% abv (vs. the 9.3% recorded here on the site).

A: Pours an intense, almost lurid dark orange-amber hue. Topped with a thin (less than one finger) bright white head.

S: Deep bourbon scents on the front of the nose, followed by almost simultaneous big malts, fruit sweetness, thick molasses, and a little hop character. There's a lot going on here, but it's almost too busy. Hard to distinguish or truly get a feel for. Making me rethink my previous experiences with this style and how Founders is trying to negotiate its way within those parameters.

T: Strong bourbon & alcohol bite dominates. I keep trying to find more subtle notes, but I'm having trouble. Big malt, a little bitter on the aftertaste.

M: Sticky sweet and thick, but not too thick. The mouthfeel doesn't distract from the brew at all.

D: I was excited to find this Founders offering and have generally liked the old ales I've come across, but this one didn't meet my expectations. Might try again down the road because it might be my palette, but not a favorite right now.

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Photo of treyrab
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Shane for throwing this extra in. I wasted no time chilling this and poured it into my snifter as soon as I was done reading corporate tax law. This is just what I needed.

A: Pours a magnificent ruby red with some dark caramel brown hues peeking through. Held up to my desk light I can see tons of brown, clumpy yeast floaties in the bottom of the glass. The head is about a half finger and tan that dissipates into a very thin ring.

S: Smell is spectacular. The initial smell is bourbon soaked raspberries with a caramel toffee background. Smell is sweet, but the bourbon and fruits definitely come to the forefront.

T: Bam! This one is flavorful. Tons (but not over the top) of bourbon notes mixed with the aforementioned raspberry puree, sweet caramel and toffee.

Overall, this is a great ale. I am not the biggest bourbon fan, but this one does it right. Thanks again Shane!

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Photo of jim102864
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of a trade with Hoppymeal. Cloudy, burnt orange appearance in my Chimay goblet. I poured a little fast which mixed in some yeast, not that I mind it. It's 9.8 abv in a small 12 0z bottle.

Not much of anything in the nose but what a buttery, semi-sweet flavor with a slight alcohol burn in the finish. It takes a while but a butterscotch nose appears as it warms. I like this. Slight butterscotch and vanilla and while the hops are muted, they add a tangy bitterness still. Creamy and smooth mouthfeel.

This could be a session beer if you've got nowhere to go and yer UConn Huskies or Red Sox are one the plasma. A real smooth finish yet well balanced and flavorful. A worthy brew that I hope to score again

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark hazy brown color with an average frothy brown head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Heavy sweet malty and small alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a sticky texture. Heavy sweet flavor with a heavy bitter small alcohol finish of long duration.

This is a standout beer.

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Photo of bjoyce12
2.84/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Overpowered by the bourbon taste. Not much carbonation, which could have offset the high ABV. Maybe I got an old bottle, but alcohol burn very present. Can't get past the bourbon taste, both in the initial flavor and aftertaste. Very much like Old Grand Dad. Founders must use some of their bourbon casks in the brewing process.

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Photo of ncstateplaya
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It poured a really dark amber that I wouldn't quite call brown. Extremely hazy on the fringes, and plenty of yeast floating in suspension (my bad for storing the beer on its side in the crisper). A very subtle head formed from a methodical pour, and no lacing was produced.

Smelled extremely sweet, a dark ripe fruit sweetness on the verge of candy. The malts smell creamy and mellow and are followed by alcohol. There are almost tart aromas that I have no idea what to contribut that to.

The alcohol is very forward and gives way to a buttery toffee flavor. There is a fruity aftertaste that pairs extremely well with the vanilla tones. The aftertaste is so close to vanilla candy I just can't believe.

The drying from the alcohol is great and is nicely matched with the oily coating feel. This beer is pretty creamy with just enough carbonation. The bitterness keeps the tastebuds honest, buy by NO way does it detract from the enjoyment of this excellent brew.

This beer is extremely enjoyable and delicious. I couldn't drink many because of the ABV, but I wouldn't have any problem drinking them until I fell out of my chair. A damn good beer, IMHO.

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Photo of clemtig76
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby 12 oz brown bottle picked up at the Charleston Beer Exchange. Poured a hazy orange amber with a very thin white head that quickly faded. No lacing to speak of. Aroma is wonderful combination of vanilla, bready malt and bourbon. The taste flavor is big and full with a coying sweetness with a hints of smoke, brown sugar, caramel malts and whiskey. My first Founders and definitely not my last. A truly outstanding, complex brew. Well done.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours into a goblet a glowing orange-cider hue with a thin head hinting at retention but ultimately receding quickly to a thin collar, leaving chunky sticky lacing sporadically down the glass. A fair bit of hazy sediment glowing through the glass.

aroma is incredibly rich once the brew is allowed to warm. Notes of scotch, raisins, plum, cinnamon, anise, alder and oak, cardamom, leather, smoke and peat. Rich, complex, dark. cherries, cassis and persimmon. Sherry and a touch of bourbon.

Taste follows aroma in a menagerie of complexity that's difficult to pinpoint, yet undeniably delicious. Rich dark fruits, a strong alcohol presence, and a woody, smoky, leathery earthiness. Cherries, raisins, figs. bourbon, a touch of sherry, and a hint of whiskey. Oak, alder, birch, sarsaparilla, a touch of ginger, pepper, anise, and cardamom. a bit of peat, loamy, earthy and rich. vibrant.

Mouthfeel is dead on for the style. Thick, rich, and full, with just enough carbonation to keep it alive. Coats the tongue beautifully without being too heavy. a perfect sipper with just enough bitterness to counteract the syrup sweet.

Impressive old ale. Definitely a nice interpretation of the style. a bit muddled at points, and a bit undefined at others, but all in all a delicously drinkable brew. I'm really wishing I hadn't just finished the last drop - this is one I could sip on all night. The alcohol, while strong in flavor, is really not potent in a cloying sense. Hides relatively well, making this one solidly drinkable.

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Photo of JasonA
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

in trade marvin, thanks!

Pours a translucent carmel. No head present. No real lacing. Uh oh

Sweet, deep malt. Slight hop character. Little citrus, some rum.

Earthy. Deep medium malt. ABV tastes great. Ends with oak and some bitter.

Well balanced. Smooth carbonation, not too sweet. Smooth hops throughout. Definately controlling the pallate.

Yummy. Doesnt look like a great beer, but overall I want to drink more. Cant get founders out my way, will continue to need to trade for em.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter.

Pours a very hazy dark red-brown, almost no head.

Nose is rich, prominent but not overwhelming bourbon note, clean dark fruit, toffee.

Front has some carbonation burn, with a rich malt note of toffee and molasses, vanilla and bourbon coming through also, and a light, balancing hop bitterness as well. The bitterness melds well with the dark fruit and light alcohol bitterness that tend to emerge right before the finish. Finish is lots of bourbon, lightly bitter, with a lingering overripe dark fruit and molasses richness.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, sticky and thick bodied.

This one's a sipper, though I probably could have drank this all night if I was in the mood.

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Photo of Itoclown
2.83/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from Ladd's in Muskegon. Drank on January 28th out of a Duvel tulip.

Look: Dark red with lots of haze. No head.
Smell: Malty. Also, light hints of scotch whiskey.
Taste/Mouthfeel: The longer this one cools, the more it tastes like beer mixed with whiskey. It's thick and heavy. Hints of caramel and dried fruit... maybe some raisons? Smooth on the tongue.

Overall/Notes: This beer was difficult for me. Not used to this style. Plus the smell and taste weren't very apparent for a while. The scotch whiskey taste was overwhelming after the beer warmed up. And after a while the alcohol came out as well.
Not a fan of this beer and I think I will avoid it in the future. Least favorite Founders brew.

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Photo of deereless
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The color of a coppery peach juice, lots of floating particles, minimal head - 4.00, S: Lots of heavy and ripe fruits, smell of prune juice, aromatically sweet from a solid malt base but with some noticeable earthy to herbal hops - 4.25, T: Hearty malt base coupled with a decent hop bite, though you sense the alcohol it is very nicely veiled, tastes like a rum soaked fruitcake that is heavy on the raisins - 4.25, M: Quite creamy and medium bodied - 4.50, D: I shouldn't be surprised given the other Founder's beers I've sampled - but this is a nicely crafted beer and one I would drink again - 4.00

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with no head, even with a bit of an aggressive pour. Deep orange sun set color with a slight haze..

Aroma is nice ... some light vanilla, deep sweet fruits.. A slight earthy tone. Interestingly bright.

Flavor is very consistent from front to back. Vanilla to start... some oak? Then some layered malt flavors... onto some alcohol.. There is a subtle but sustained hop bitterness at the end. It's not bright and in your face like an IPA... but persistent and subtle.

There is a tight tingle to the carbonation that I find interesting... A bit syrup like and definitely a sipper. Totally drinkable for a 9.8% ABV..

You can sense the alcohol is there, but it does not get in the way.

Interesting... Not great, but interesting...

** I had the opportunity to have a year old bottle as well and did enjoy how it mellowed...

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Photo of damienblack
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to JohnTravolta21 for this 12oz bottle.

Pours cider-brown with little fanfare. Minimal head and lacing. Smells like a hoppy, boozey barleywine, sweet and hoppy, and a little burnt malt or caramel. Something else dark and a little musty almost like tobacco on the nose.

Big sweet malt explosion, full of caramel and a stronger sense of that tobacco-like taste I got from the nose. Almost like coffee, except it's a harsher sensation. Tastes burnt without that flavor dominating, it adds sort of an oaked sensation to it. Also reinforced by a whiskey-like bite to it at the end, as well as a whiskey-smokeyness after in the throat. Hops bitter towards the end of the palate, there for bittering effect to balance out the sweetness, and don't really add the taste of pine or another particular hop taste. Mouthful is thick and syrupy, it coats the palate and doesn't want to let go. Big bodied beer. A nice sipper, but the heavy presence of hard liquors/alcohol, combined with the harshness of the other flavors prevent this from being more than that. I like the change of pace, but I don't know if I want to pursue this beer again, at least fresh.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,203 ratings.