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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,608 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,608
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 140
Gots: 680 | FT: 47
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,608 | Reviews: 1,105 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Vonerichs
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours very thick, bordering syrupy, and has a caramel color. There is very little head or lacing despite an aggressive pour.

This is weak in the smell department. It does have a caramel sweetness to it with a hint of vanilla. Even though the smell is faint, it is pleasant.

The dextrins give this a sweet smell of caramel and vanilla. There's a strange aftertaste of artificial sweetener. Up front and in the middle this is a good tasting ale, but the aftertaste is a little off-putting and resembles aspirin.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, with a light cut of carbonation.

This has an alcoholic burn to it but it's expected at 9.3%. This is a sipper, but enjoyable.

Vonerichs, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of Kinsman
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Kinsman, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of alleykatking
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from growler. Thanks Luke for once again sharing!

A- Poured a dark caramel color. Very little head pops up and turns into skim on the top of the beer. No real lacing but coats the glass...hmm.

S- Big time sweet malts in this one. Some brown sugar or molasses. As it warms up some vanilla somes into play. Light toffee and darker fruits make up the aroma.

T- Lots of sweet malts in the upfront of this both caramel and toffee. The darker fruits come in next but mix with a alcohol presence very well. Light oak flavor along with vanilla. A sweet alcohol in the backend of this.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little off and made the beer feel more heavy than what it was. Tons of malt left on the palate with some alcohol soaked plum in the aftertaste. Flavors were big and bold. Left my palate very dry after each sip.

D- This beer is always a struggle for me and I don't know why. I enjoy the taste but it is always a sipper for me. It is always a welcome for me but sometimes too much for me to finish. One of a few beers that is like that for me.

alleykatking, May 09, 2010
Photo of DrewZ926
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a deep, opaque, almost ruby orange. no head to speak of. bright lighter shades around the rim, very rich golden amber throughout

s: deep, syrupy sweet malts. caramelized hops. notes of orange grapefruit citrus peak through. picking up faint golden raisin

t: very complex malt bill. a lot of sweet biscuit with resonating caramel from the nose. faint hop bitterness on the finish. very full and well rounded

m: surprisingly thick, though admittedly my first old ale. nice carbonation upfront, smooth finish

d: slight bit of heat upfront, though mellowing as it warms

o: great selection for a chilly night. cant compare it to other old ales though. enjoying the subtle use of hops--contrasts the upfront sweetness of the malt

DrewZ926, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Dukeofearl, Apr 01, 2008
Photo of Cresant
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this undated 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Smith tulip. Minimal head was achieved and it quickly melted to a thin collar. Particulates cloud the reddish-brown body.

Smell was of bourbon. Kool-aid powder grape. Rich fruits.

Tasted of alcohol. Malty. Cherry cough syrup. Bourbon. Wood. Strong but never overpowering.

Mouthfeel was smooth and rich. Mildly carbonated. I found this one to be filling and too bourbon-like for my beer drinking tastes to it drink regularly.

Cresant, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of alcstradamus
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

alcstradamus, Sep 05, 2009
Photo of abraxel
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm surprised it took me so long to try this beer; I've been a fan of both Founders and old ales for a while.

A - This is an attractive beer. A sort of translucent brownish amber with a pillowy, thick head that clings to the side of the glass and takes forever to subside.

S - Smells like toffee-like malt, but not very sweet. Hints of citrusy hops. For some reason it also reminds me of grapes... but maybe I'm making that part up.

T - Complex, rather sweet malts (lots of toffee and caramel, but so much more than that in a way that's hard to describe) with a fair amount of hoppy bitterness -- the hops blend in at first, then take over halfway through the sip. I really like it before the hops dominate, then it declines to just "good".

M - Not very thick, but it lingers quite a while on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Satisfying, but not stunning.

O - I like it. Not my favorite old ale (but that's unfair considering I don't live far from Kuhnhenn), but it's good. I think I'd like it more if the hops were a bit more subdued so the awesome, complex malts could shine. It makes me think the Kaiser Curmudgeon (this beer aged in bourbon/maple syrup barrels) must be just about perfect...

abraxel, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of kfirestone
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

kfirestone, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of Spider889
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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. ;-)

Spider889, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of projectflam86
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

projectflam86, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of mychalg9
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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!

mychalg9, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of goodbyeohio
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

first off, whoever took the 'bottle photo' is an art pimp. the trees are great. what a nice touch! this bottle was snatched up at julio's in mass.

pours a cloudy blood red into my rapscallion snifter. accentuated gently by dense foam rings and sticky, sparse lacing. aroma carries lots of bourbony booze and fusel-boosted yeast mutations. vanilla lingers in the air trapped by the tulip. old ale at its oldest, most crotchety.

the woody cream character really translates strongly into the dominant flavor of this beer, not too far from what i expect an old ale to be but somewhat one-dimensional. perhaps its not warm enough, let's wait and see...

after the crowd-friendly southampton old ale, this beer maintains an adversely crotchety attitude with a starchy, raw malt profile that doesn't quite invite the same level of drinkability. the flavors are all there in a sublime richness.. however this IS your grandpa's old ale. a cigar would be nice right about now. toasted vegetal huskiness meets caramelized burnt sugars in a buffalo trace barrel, producing some interesting effects.

what do i think overall? tough call. like a stinky old man, you have to respect the work that went into its culmination, regardless of how gritty his current situation might be. recommended, oddly.

goodbyeohio, Jun 21, 2006
Photo of Auracom
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Auracom, Jun 04, 2012
Photo of herman77
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

herman77, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of kmeves
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

kmeves, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of thirdeye11
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

thirdeye11, May 03, 2009
Photo of Jayli
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

Jayli, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of RickWhiteROC
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

RickWhiteROC, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of pootz
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

Aromas of dark dried fruits, mustiness oak barreld whisky.

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

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

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

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

pootz, Oct 02, 2006
Photo of Stunner97
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- very amber in color with little to no carbonation in terms of bubbles to be seen, head starts very thing and just about fades away to nothing

Smell- vanilla, malt, malt, malt, caramel and molasses, raison, very sweet malt based nose

Taste- though certain a beer with a decent amount of malt to it there is quite a bit more hop bitterness than I would of expected, slight vanilla and woody sweet ness is detectable from the oak, would be interesting to see what some age on this would do to the flavor profile, basically can be summed up in tons of up front malt with a firm and solid handed hop finish, finishes moderate to long, overally pretty enjoyable flavor and extremely balanced,

Mouthfeel- decently heavy thick and smooth, very strong drying finish,

Drinkability- easy drinking for sure as this beer walked way more of a balance then I even had expected with malt and hop, goes down dangerously fast hard to tell this is 9.8 percent at all, while this beer is certainly good not sure yet if I would call it great rather just solid, oak adds a nice touch and the heat of abv is minimal to none, I feel though it would made it less balanced I was almost hoping for a bit more malt from this than amount of hop they threw in, at very least I would certainly try this again

Stunner97, May 14, 2010
Photo of schroederm
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

schroederm, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of DannyDan
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Pours out an amber hue with a thick white head that quickly disappears leaving minimal retention and hardly any lacing.
S. I get molasses, some fruits and sweet malts in the nose.
T. The taste starts with some raisins followed by molasses, oak, and finished with sweet malts and has a slight alcohol taste throughout.
M. The mouthfeel is sticky, but easy to drink. It also leaves the mouth somewhat dry.
O. Overall it is a nice enjoyable beer to enjoy while relaxing or before going to bed.

DannyDan, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of Azeotrope
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

Azeotrope, Sep 27, 2014
Photo of JasonL02
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

JasonL02, Sep 18, 2014
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,608 ratings.