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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: 20.1%
Wants: 187
Gots: 980 | 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 ThisWangsChung
2.73/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a burnt sienna color with huge, oily-looking chunks of sediment plopping down into the glass. That plus very little head means this is one ugly-ass beer - almost to the point where I'm afraid to sip it.

S: Quite strong with molasses, mint, and caramel, while darker fruits help augment the malt backbone. Pretty nice smelling, and a lot more promising than the look of the beer.

T: The flavor is hard to describe. The first sip is loaded with caramel, dark fruit, brown sugar, and a little finishing booze; a few sips later, the profile changes to that of slightly burnt pumpernickel bread. Not as sweet as I expected, probably due to the age of the bottle and the yeast eating some of the sugar - despite that, it's still a bit cough syrup-y at times. Kind of boozy, also. Just a weird, strange beer, one that I'm struggling to finish.

M: Thickly textured, with tannins helping to neutralize the finish somewhat. Nice creaminess to start, before the body itself finishes slightly coarse and sticky. Rather boozy feeling on the throat in particular.

O: Meh. In fairness, this is not a good late afternoon kind of beer, but I still found it rather mediocre despite that. A rare misfire from Founders, but it's not completely irredeemable.

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Photo of Krakistophales
2.74/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice ruby red color with lively carbonation and no lace...but there's a glob of sediment/protein/whatever it is floating around on top, and that's just disgusting. Had to remove before I could start drinking.

S: Not much going on here. Some malt sweetness, the slightest hint of dark fruit, not much else.

T: Better than the smell, but still pretty average. Malt sweetness at first, with a touch of tartness of what might be cherries, a zing of some other dark fruits, and a slightly hoppy aftertaste, but underwhelming all the same.

O: Probably the worst I've had from founders. I've had KBS and Dirty bastard, which were both fantastic, so this one must be a hiccup.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
2.77/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Color is a rather unattractive orange-brown, and the lack of any head or lacing doesn't help the appearance. Scents of dark fruits and molasses are nice if a bit weak, and there's a bit of a boozy smell too. Caramel and molasses are up front in the taste, with a punch of booziness in the finish that I don't find particularly pleasant. High pucker factor and plenty of burn going down the throat. This is not one of Founder's better offerings.

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Photo of kohoutek
2.78/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep ruddy amber without filtration. This bottle sat for three days in the fridge and it is still very cloudy. Head is light caramel in color with a short life and little persistent lace.

The aroma is wild: overoaked, over bourboned, malty, wheaty sweetness with a touch of fresh morning urine. Where is the piss coming from and why won't it leave?

The beer is large, sweet and boozy with an oakiness that would make a late 90's Cali-Chardonnay jealous. This is an oak bomb!
Butter, Bourbon and a sweet malty mess.

Mouthfeel: Well, for a 9.3% beer, I would understand sweet, but everything about this beer is over the top. Bittering hops perform like an underly confident supporting actor in the middle school production. They try, but they cannot step up to the immensly expulsive and overconfident quickly maturing and painfully overcompensating female lead(s).

After 20 min of swirling and smelling the urine is beginning to subside but the bourbon sweetness is increasing.

Edit: I stopped swirling for two minutes and the urine is back.

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Photo of seedyone
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

05/19/14 From bottle. As I'm on a barrel aged kick lately, no stone shall go unturned. Here is a fine example of how pervasive oaking can be..until, of course it meets something just as persuasive as the molasses used here. Not a lot on the nose & no head to speak of so that leaves the battle on the tongue between the oak & the treacle. Each as it's moment but neither comes out a winner. I enjoyed it but could not get past the novelty effect. I suspect a draft portion...or better yet, a nitro pour could lift this to another level.

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Photo of falloutsnow
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: None on bottle, spring 2013 release
Glass: Founders snifter

Founders' Curmudgeon is a rather disappointing old ale, featuring a good, but fairly uncomplicated dark brown caramel-like sweetness with a bit of oak, both of which are rather quickly subsumed by the ethanol content of the beer. The alcohol becomes excessively apparent with warmth, detracting from the overall experience and enjoyment of this beer. I find myself asking, "was this intentional, or just a too-hot and quick fermentation/bottling/shipping schedule?" Founders suggests that this beer is "deceptively smooth and drinkable," on the 4-pack, but I'd heartily disagree. Nowhere near comparable to the effortless smoothness (that is, non-ethanol-detectable) and more complex flavors in, say, Hair of the Dog releases. Not one I'd pick up again.

Pours a 0.5cm tall head of beige-colored, small-sized bubbles, with below average retention of about twenty seconds, barely enough time to register that the head looked a bit frothy. The head fades to a thin ring around the glass, and leaves good lacing, a more than moderate number of large dots cling to the glass' sides. Beer's body is a dark golden orange color, almost brown, with reddish highlights; light brings out brighter golden orange hues with yellow highlights. Carbonation visible through the slightly hazy (20-30% opacity) body, low in number and moderate in activity.

Aroma of fairly heavy caramel-like sweetness, ethanol, and oak, only moderately robust, not nearly as expressive or complex as I was hoping.

The most notable flavors of the beer are heavy/syrupy brown caramel-like sweetness, a touch of toasted bread and oak, and big ethanol, which becomes more apparent the longer the sip lasts in the mouth. The front of the palate tastes moderate oak, medium-strong brown caramel-like sweetness, and light ethanol. Mid-palate detects flavors of strong ethanol, heavy/syrupy brown caramel-like sweetness, a touch of toasted bread and oak, but the somewhat harsh ethanol largely steamrolls the other flavors. Back of palate is largely of heavy/syrupy brown caramel-like sweetness with a bit of oak, which is quite pleasant, but then the ethanol largely obscures this with its flavor and heat. Aftertaste is primarily of ethanol, with a bit of light caramel sweetness hidden in the background.

Beer's body is medium-heavy, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a lightly foamy (1/4), mostly smooth (3/4) mouthfeel that is appropriate for sipping a beer of this style. Unfortunately, ethanol is easily felt as heat in the nostrils and across the palate, and as a burning sensation on the throat. Though "only" 9.8% ABV, this feels like a much stronger beer; ethanol not well-hidden. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness lingering on the palate and lips.

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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 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 jwhawkins81
2.87/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled Fresh

Aroma - Way sweet smell with no noticeable hop characteristics.

Appearance - Cloudy reddish brown with no I mean no carbonation.

Taste - Sweet cherries and then the bite of alcohol. This beer really needs to be sipped and also needs to hit the tip of your tongue. I got some raisin flavors near the end.

Mouthfeel - Not a light beer. Without carbonation this beer just lays there.

Drinkability - I can't imagine drinking more than one of these at a time. I hope this beers improves over the next three years in my cellar.

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Photo of maxpower
2.88/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle pours a dark amber color with a nice off white head with large bubbles that leaves some lacing in my glass. Strong bourbon aromas, vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors, a bit to strong for me. Full bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, finishes dry. The whiskey flavor is about all I get from this.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
2.91/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5


a 4-4.5 generally clear rosy amber. one inch creamy head slowly settles to a cap, decent lace. a very typical founders look.

s 3-3.5 rather gentle on the nose. cherries, light breadyness. the cherry unfortunately has sort of an artificial, cough drop quality. also a fair amount of alcohol in the nose.

t 2.5-3 for a big beer this is very delicate, kinda belgian trippel-like. that applies mostly to the mouthfeel, really, but the mouthfeel dominates the flavor in this one. if it weren't for the ultra creamy mouthfeel, the alcohol notes would boldly overwhelm, not being accompanied by other bold flavors to tame them. there is a hint of toastyness, a touch of the cherry coughdrop essence, not a lot going on. pretty disappointed in this one.

m 4-4.5 delicate and creamy, so soft it's like a latex pillow. not what i was expecting from an old ale, but nice in its way. if only it had better flavor embedded in it.

o 2.5 had hoped for much more. not expecting age to work miracles, but i will wait and see with the other bottles.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.91/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 06/05/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. This beer pours a cloudy orange. Aroma of sweet malt and vegetal notes. The flavor is equally gross (although slightly mellower) but still lots of sweet sticky malt and vegetation. This beer was not my thing at all...

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Photo of ummswimmin
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had this on tap at a special Founders event at the local bar.

The bar served this in a mini goblet. This beer is the proper tan/brown that you would expect from an old ale. The head was minimal and there was nice alcohol feet.

The foam yielded down to a simple scum on the glass. You could see minimal carbonation on this, which isn't a surprise for the style.

I smell tobacco, caramel, yeast, and some malt. It smelled very rich.

Curmudgeon really fell off with the first taste. There was a ton of alcohol in it. It really wasn't pleasant. You get a little bit of scotch. I had a ton of burn from the alcohol and visibly winced with each sip. The after-taste was all alcohol throughout my mouth.

I really didn't care for this beer. It was surprising since I enjoyed so much Founders in the past.

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Photo of albern
2.94/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer has its virtues, but it is not an enjoyable experience. The appearance is a nice cloudy amber brown with lots of yeasty bits floating about. The head is off white, retains a bit, not much lacing. The aroma is profoundly whisky alcohol, dark and heavy fruits, such as fig, rind, apricot, raisin. This is a full bodied beer, quite syrupy in consistency, and just plain thick and overly sweet. There is also an oaky aged quality to the beer. The taste mimics the aroma. You'll get the full gamut of heavy fruit flavors, a cloying candied sugar sweetness, and a syrupy thickness that is just over the top, and that oaky aged quality that is more apt in a bourbon. The killer for me is the alcohol throaty burn. I feel like I'm drinking a sweet whisky drink and it just burns on the way down. This is the type of beer that leaves me with a heartburn afterwards. It's just not drinkable as a beer. For a 9.3% ABV, this tastes like it is thrice that much. Way too much alcohol, and not my cup of tea at all. It's too bad, because the beer does have its virtues, just not as it is presently consistituted. The aftertaste is just doing me in. If I wanted a sweet whisky concoction, I would have mixed one myself.

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Photo of gatornation
2.95/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a dark orange thick looking brooding ale with minimal head and lacing..the smell is strong its malts and caramel with some banana and vanilla bean smells the taste is strong its a malt driven ale with a strong alcohol taste almost to me like a liquor i detect some bourbon and toffee its thick ..the mouhfeel is full bodied malty and sweet with the b4 mentioned tastes and smells.founders is an outstanding brewery with many on my rotation.. this old ale is a sipper and not my style or preference..all though i can tell its well made its just not my thing low scores are due to this not the quality of this ale or the brewer

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Photo of ahking
2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy copper - raisins and malty yeast aroma, so nice and comforting - quite hoppy for the style making it a unique ale - rich and complex - boozy in the middle - dried cherries/raisin/touch of vanilla/bourbon - finishes a little too sweet for my liking

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Photo of godfathermg57
2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On tap at hunahpu's day

A: Deep red with a thin head. Looked like it should have been a good drink...

S: Lots of honey and alcohol. Little hints of fruit

T: Not very good. I definitely taste honey but also wood, alcohol, and viney taste that does not taste good.

M: I guess it's good enough. Not enough to make up for the taste though.

D: If you like the taste then I guess drinkable. For me I had to labor.

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Photo of JohnL9013
3/5  rDev -24.6%

This reminds me a lot of the Arrogant Bastard Ale, or at least, the way Arrogant Bastard used to be - a little on the harsh side, except that this beer suffers from a startling lack of complexity and interesting flavors.

Appearance: Medium cloudy, brown

Smell: Primarily caramel with some hops

Taste: Bitter molasses and caramel with a slight medicinal aftertaste. Molasses less pronounced than I thought it would be. Perhaps this style just isn't for me, but I'm not the biggest fan of the taste here. Mainly I just don't like the aftertaste, it tastes like the beer is immature or too much bittering hops were added.

Mouthfeel: Doesn't go down easy. Pretty harsh.

I'm a big fan of Founders but I gotta call it like it is. This brew just isn't that great. It would be one thing if suffering through the harsh mouthfeel and weird aftertaste led to something great, but this beer is pretty one-dimensional.

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Photo of maximum12
3/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Always seemed to miss this one when it came around & wasn't going to this year. Grabbed two 12 oz. singles & popped one open during a lively poker night.

Pour is straw yellow, pale enough to need sunblock on the trip in from the car. Nose is nothing to sneeze at: spare sweetness, gentle malts, cool breezes. Suprisingly mild.

Curdumdgeon is that rarest of beasts: a clean miss from one of my favorite breweries. Easygoing sweetness, light caramel, faint pear - then radio silence & a bullet of alcohol. Huh? Another sip, same reaction. Warm. Same.

I have to admit, I don't get it. There's really nothing to this beer other than a light sweetness & touch of fruit. If I'm going to consume an alcoholic drink weighing in at 9.8%, I want something tasty. This is dull; mediocre at half the taste.

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Photo of brewcifix
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Curmudgeon pours a beautiful true amber. Most people say "amber" when they, in fact, should say "red". The color of this brew is wonderful, and ideal for an ale, in my humble opinion. Looking at this hue on a color wheel would immediately lead my mind to thoughts of ales. Although clear, I do detect very slight haziness. This appearance would get a passing grade-albeit its anemic beige head. It dissipates soon after the pour and demonstrates no lacing whatsoever. And... OH, how I LOVE lacing!


The nose is obnoxiously sweet (this is not a negative for me), exhibiting honey, sweet sugar and malts. Unfortunately, the nose is very much like the head- leaving much to be desired.


This incarnation is abundantly sweet up front, showcasing sugar with a touch of molasses, honey, and vanilla (almost "cream soda" if you focus it on the back of your tongue). It finishes sweet and clean with almost imperceptible grassy hops and vertually no aftertaste. I want aftertaste.


moderate weight on the tongue, with nice medium-high carbonation


I'm not overly impressed with this ale. However, it is VERY drinkable. Founder's has somehow managed to hide 9.8% ABV without a trace. This beer is not for the "hoppy connoisseur". You need a sweet appreciative palate to drink this. I have that. This is a great warm weather brew that distinguishes itself from the "refreshing" crowd that usually features citris notes. I want to age a few bottles, and see what I get. If I found this stuff on tap one day, I'd be forced to have at least one.

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Photo of AtlasBrew
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz stubby bottle (Think Sierra Nevada's bottles), A fantastic label with a painted portrait of, what else, an old curmudgeon looking scholar/sailor.

Color: Brown, I wouldn't say deep brown. Head is a beige pillowy head, with medium retention.

Smell: Alcohol, Malty Sweetness, little hops

Taste: Malty alcohol that hints at some hops. That aged flavor that hints of bourbon. But always alcohol, the kind that leaves you dry and wondering "...is this really only 9.8% ABV?"

Overall: Eh, I could have done without it the 9.8% ABV. I appreciate the work and effort that was put into this Ale but let's face it; at this high of an alcohol content you may just as well have a barley wine. Not my favorite.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Haymarket into a 4oz tasting glass...Pours a deep amber with orange notes, a decent tope head, looks good...The aroma is pretty good very sweet with lots of caramel, honey, spice and a little oak. Good start...The taste just doesn't translate, this is borderline horrible. Almost all bitter alcohol from start to finish, oak, and honey try to help out but they can't do enough. I had a hard time finishing this. I just can't believe how bad this is.

Avoid for me.

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Photo of Steverus
3.06/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Up front, I wish this beer had a stronger aroma to help prepare the pallet for the bourbon assault that's to follow.

Appearance is great - a dark, almost burnt looking caramel (which is A+ for a beer intended to seem like the type of beer an old sea dog would down in place of the usual swill).

I didn't catch a whole lot on the nose - some subtle vanilla and oak. Maybe chalk that up to allergies.

Taste is good, but because it comes up on you so unaware, it's a little more shocking to the pallet than I'd like. On second taste, the sweet, oaky character comes all the way forward, bringing this tasty beverage back in to the respectable range we expect from Founders.

Nice and smooth ale. Carbonation balances the rich depth of this beer.

Overall - Worth reaching for another, but one of those beers that, while it won't be forgotten as it is far from average, lacks some of the balance of Founders' other august beers.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.07/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

There's no head with little lacing that doesn't stick very well. The smell is sweet brown with butterscotch. It's pungent like perfume, very very sweet perfume. It also has a slight spicyness. It's like wet/sweet wood or cardboard with a sweet sweet brown sugar with spices. Mouthfeel is a little smooth with some good carbonation. I wouldn't have another unless it was fresh only because I was told it was great.

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Photo of AwYeh
3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle dated April 6, 2012, poured into tulip pint.

A: Pours a clear, reddish amber color, with a paper-thin coating of off-white head.

S: Very sweet and sticky smelling, with strong molasses and ethanol smells. Brown sugar, caramel, oak, and raisin flavors add depth.

T: Spicy alcohol is the strongest flavor here, among all of the same malt and fruit flavors from the nose. A bit more honey enters into the taste, and there's a light bitterness on the finish.

M: Thick and sticky, with light carbonation. Leaves a bit of dryness on the finish.

O: Decent offering from Founders; I look forward to trying it with some age on it in the future, in hopes that the aging will bring out more flavors and limit the beer's heat a bit. In its young state, it does seem that this beer is more balanced than a number of other old ales, which become cloying quickly.

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