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

Appearance: Hazy, medium to darkish orange to red colors. 1/2" white bubbly head that settles in a minute or so. High alcohol and barrel-aged so you can expect this with the head. Totally classic.

Nose: Malt bomb! No hop characters whatsoever in the nose. Molasses, oak, brown sugar, maybe some figs and semidark fruits, and perhaps the slightest hint of vanilla on the end. The oak gets bigger on the end as it warms. Warming alcohol deep in the sinuses. Very very good.

Mouth: Nose justifies the mouth, but is perhaps a bit bigger in the mouth than the nose. HUGE MALTS! Quite possibly the maltiest beer i've had to date. Caramel, toffee, and maybe the slightest hint of hop bitterness and then its gone. Thick in the mouth but no where near sticky. Very pungent and very strong, and yet very well blended. in many ways, it reminds me alot of the Dirty Bastard but with sweeter malts, and an overall bigger malt bill in general. And it is certainly much more powerful. Very Very good, and very VErY complex. Unbelievably complex in fact!

Overall: Not a beginners brew. This is definitely a cult beer, but Old Ales generally are a cult style. This is one worth seeking out, but you must prepare yourself for it. A little age does this one better justice. 100%, absolutely mastercraft, but this beer is HUGE!

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

Appearance: A hazy peach glass holds a thin blond head and collar that gives a little lace and shows a little leg. Funny, it looks thick and viscous, moves slowly in the glass when I swirl.

Smell: Slaps the nose with a heavy alcoholic hand. Deep malt and a bit of peat. An earthy hop leaf quality; English, maybe a touch of leather.

Taste: A flash of a cola taste before the malt bomb goes off. Middle is sweet but finishes with a bitter edge of the earthy hops. Heavy flavors melt together to keep the malt from going cloy. Alcohol shows up in the finish, I can feel it evaporating into my sinuses.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body with some chew and a lingering coat. Carbonation is low but gives a lively feel.

Overall: Great Old Ale, pretty much bang on in style (oh look, it's a BJCP example). Warming, full flavor makes for a great sipper, even on a summer's eve.
Cheers to Illudium for the sample!

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Photo of WestMichiganWhaler
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Overpowering molasses that lingers. Although complex, the smokey, spicy, oakey, boozy components are all dwarfed by the molasses. A very good beer but not my favorite from Founders.

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Photo of unclederby
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

No bottling date, still i'm certain this is from the 2006 release. Poured a nice mahogany into the tulip, with a thin layer of tan, creamy foam clinging to the edges of the glass. Bits of floaties were in abundance as were splatches of carbonated activity.

I give it a swirl and take a whiff and am greeted with a noseful of sweetness. Bourbon and rum-like simultaneously, with notes of vanilla, bananas, cherries, and over-ripe plums, molasses and alcohol.

Taste is somewhat fruit-cake like: sweet and estery with just a hint of spiciness... and alcohol. Cake-i-ness.

Full-bodied and robust is the best way to describe this ale as it crosses your palate, with a good bit of chewiness.

Tasty, this beer is best suited as a sipper and a nightcap i think; as it is a slightly agressive beer flavor-wise (rich), and i'm sure the ABV would catch up to one rather quickly.

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

Pours apricot-orange in color. Head is thick and soapy with slight lacing.

Aroma is caramel malt, nuts, and tropical fruit. Woody, with earthy hops.

Taste is malty and earthy as the nose suggested. Sweet caramel malt is prominent initially but is quickly eclipsed by the nutty earthy character. Light fruit, notably apple, apricot and melon. Finish holds lingering musty earthy hop bitterness and sweet brown sugar.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Slightly chewy.

A well made, complex ale. This is a winner with a great depth of fruit and earthy notes. Flavor is pleasant and unified, missing some of the alcohol harshness that is often present in an Olde Ale. In my opinion, this detracted from the score. Still, this is a tasty treat.

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Photo of gpcollen1
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a modest brown with some golden highlights into my Lees Harvest Ale shortie. A modest head arrives with the pour and quickly disperes to barely a ring around the glass. Aromas of oak and bourbon top the glass with additional hints of vanilla beans steeping in cream and bourbon splashing back in.

Taste is sweet and smooth, riding oak across the tongue and dragging bourbon and vanilla behind. The vanilla is very subtle and tied up in sweet dried plums. Finishes with a splash of alcohol hitting the back of the throat.

This is a fantastic way to officially end the work day and move on into getting dinner ready for the family. I had no expectations in diggin in to this brew but am pretty impressed in its relative simplicity and drinkability. Thanks Vance!!

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

2010 keg Pour is a nice orange color with a small white head. The smell is loaded with a nice crisp feeling, but balanced with a lot of sweetness.

The taste really isnt too sweet, but it follows suit. Solid sweet backbone really tried to come forth, but cant really take over. Theres a dryness that takes over, and not in a bad way. The dryness really balances the sweetness and malt backbone.


So I had a year old keg at a tap takeover, but Ive got fresh bottles, and I couldnt resist. Pour is like a good barleywine-bright orange with no head. ok now this is the biggest compliment ever. It reminds of Regulator Doppelbock at Bull City Burger and Brewery. Grassy Earthy malt dominates like crazy. Feels crisp, but in an insanely good way. Maybe its the style, but its unique for sure. Very earthy malt, hints of caramel, and a nice bit of scotch barrel. Very smooth caramel and syrupy notes.

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

Pours out copper-brown and sits a murky ruby-brown in the glass with a deep beige head, fading to a faint skim with few lacings.

Smells sweet and malty, big, ripe rounded raisins and prunes seasoned with black pepper and charry oak. Distinct whiskey on the nose, with spicy hops tending to the nose hairs.

A full-on malt assault from sip one. Nerf-like bombardments of caramel and deep, dark brown sugar...but lacks sweetness, or is at least extremely packed in with ultra-assertive hops with miles of pepper and grassy spiciness. The two sides are so balanced, in fact, that it is a struggle to pick out any particular flavor without stumbling into another one, which is then covered by another, and so on until you die. Finishes with as much staggering of attributes as Dr. Jekyl at an all you can drink BYOB mixer.

Mouthfeel is beyond description....rediculously soft, creamy, yet firm in composition. Like a down pillow made from the feathers of only the youngest of fowl. I have no idea how to describe this. Ultra-fine carbonation and a full body...I think.

Good good good. I can't see myself reaching back into the cooler to get another fix like the good old Kentucky Breakfast Stout made me do several times, but this here is good stuff Maynard.

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Photo of NuckleDragger
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pretty brownish/red copper color

S: Caramel and molasses. Almost like a fruitcake. Ripe bananas.

T: The molasses and wood age come through great. Taste like you're eating a piece of grandmas banana nut bread.

M: Very full mouth feel with just the right amount of carbonation.

O: Another solid seasonal from Founders. Never tasted a beer with these specific traits. Excellent. Plus, it helped me pick out a new nickname for the old lady.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into snifter. Thanks for sending me a few of these jbck109.

A: Pours a murky burnt orange with a thin cream colored head that faded to fuzzy lace.
S: Huge notes of vanilla with sweet hints of burnt caramel, raisins, spicy hops and mild cocoa powder.
T: Follows the nose with very smooth flavors of brown sugar, toasted malts, caramel, vanilla, peppery spices with a mild hoppiness in the finish. Sweet mild chocolate, a touch of dark fruits and candied sugar, figs, and chocolate brownies round off my list of nouns and adjectives. The aftertaste is lightly bitter with leafy hops. Really complex and delicious.
M: Alcohol is slightly warming in the finish over a full body, soft and sticky mouthfeel with fluffy soft carbonation.
O: I really enjoyed this one. It was complex and very well integrated and balance. Very easy to drink, glad I have one more. Thanks again Jay!

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Photo of stompilator
4.31/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip.

A - Poured a deep, opaque red, thin, crispy head.

S - Oak, booze, a little bit of esters, and a wee bit of hops.

T - The oak flavor is definitely dominant, especially up front. Some plummy, berry-esque esters follow along with the thick sweetness from the molasses. Buttery, bready notes come from the malt near the end, with some earthy hops and residual boozinessrounding out the finish.

M - Medium-bodied, easy carbonation.

O - Tons of layers to this particular brew, very sweet in so many ways.

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Photo of drcarver
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Virtually no head, but what limped to the top was an off white color. The murky full body was a medium red.

S - Moderately malty with hints of cookie and nuts. Lightly yeasty with the smell of dough.

T - Sweet, bitter, and acidic at the start. The sweetness carries through the beer. An average finish that is very clean.

M - Full dry body that finished watery. Very soft on the palate. A slight dirness and moderate alcohol finish.

D - Keep it slow and keep it easy. A thicker beer, but it is definitely one that goes down nose and easy.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz stubby brown bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Would have poured a clear dark copper, but with the extra yeast poured into the class it takes on a nice hazy copper, like a really really high ABV hefeweizen. The beer is topped with a one and a half inch frothy white head but bubbles down to a tight, thin cap with nice creamy lacing that does not last as long as I initially hoped it would have. Just the slightest bit bland looking.

S: Strong and sweet, heavy cream, vanilla, all brought together by strong, oaky, notes. Mild bouron, but is really more on account of the vanilla in the beer than anything else.

T/MF: Very smooth, like silk in the mouth but with a subtle carbonation that gives this beer a nice, almost chewy character. Big, oaky, opening. Sweet dark fruits, cherry is the most dominate here, but even this flavor is rather subtle, as though it is wrapped in a blanket of vanilla ice cream. Understated hop bitterness and once again demonstrates Founders' dedication to creating a uniquely balanced beer.

D: Incredibly smooth and balanced, not too sweet, just the right amount of bitterness, makes for an incredibly drinkable beer. If it just looked a bit prettier this beer would score a 5 in this category, but appearance still counts for me when it comes to drinkability. Still a fantastically drinkable beer.

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

Got in a trade with csmiley - many thanks! Poured from a 12oz bottle (no dating info) into a pint glass. This is my first Old Ale so excited to try it. It is a cloudy red orange with a ton of sediment floating about. Center carb fountain and no lacing. It barely had a head and that evaporated as quickly as it appeared.

The aroma was really good. Nice and oaky without the overwhelming bourbon smell I've come to associate with oak in beers. Also get dark fruits and wine. Very appetizing. The taste follows the aroma. Nice solid oaky, fruity taste. Goes down way too smooth for something with 9% ABV. You can taste the alcohol but is really well balanced so it doesn't overwhelm.

Overall, there is a really great beer that I highly recommend. Looking forward to trying some more in the style.

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Photo of Axic10
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber hue with two fingers of fluffy foam that settles after a while.

Smell: Malty sweetness that comes across with raisin, cinnamon, toffee. Great aroma.

Taste: Sweet bready malt, raisin, toffee, slight vanilla as it warms. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a slight stingy-alcohol burn at the end.

Drinkability: While I can't see this being an everyday beer, I definitely will enjoy this again. I have 3 bottles left from my 4 pack that I want to age a little bit.

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

My favorite Old Ale to date- although I will admit I have only had a handful in this style.
Appearance- small head and some spiderweby lacing.
Smell is aggressive (more so than other founder's offerings) with a decent amount of alcohol and dry hops, well balanced with dry malt.
Taste is fairly similar, the hops are a bit heavier here and open up to a piney taste. The alcohol is more definative and definately has a whiskey flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with little carbonation.
Drinkability- its a sessionable beer, drink it slow and let it open up.

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

I first tried this beer at 6 months and the oak was belligerently obvious and far too sweet. Now at 9 months, it is quite yummy, though I can't help but wish I'd squirreled it away a bit longer. Brandy, dry oats, caramel, a tiny bit of anise. I'd like the malts to stand out a bit more, right now I'm getting that oaked-vanilla taste lingering in my mouth and the malts in the background, whereas I want them in opposite roles with the malts nestled snug above the oak... a short time did wonders for the beer, with patience this could be an excellent old ale.

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Photo of Roke87
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, slightly chilled and poured into a Stella Chalice.
Bottle Date: April.4/2011

Appearance- Pours a clear dark amber colour with a nice finger of white head that quickly dissipates to a small bubbly ring leaving very minimal amounts of lacing.

Smell- sweet vanilla and toffee mixed with citrusy fruity floral hops come to the nose right off the bat, malts and woody flavours also come into play.

Taste- Just like the smells this one is sweet for from vanilla and toffee balanced nicely by dark fruity hop flavours although the hops are very muted. Finishes with a bready malty woody flavour, you can taste the alcohol but it is disguised nicely by all the complex flavours.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied ale with average carbonation that forms a nice ring on the top of the glass until the brew is finished, creamy smooth and crisp on the palate as well.

Overall- Yet another amazing offering from Founders and something that I would definitely pursue again, it’s really too bad this is only a seasonal offering because this one would be great year round. A great drinking old ale that hides the high ABV very well, smooth crisp and almost too easy drinking. I would definitely pick this one up in a heartbeat and hope I can find it again on my next beer haul to the States.

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

bought a bottle at odies big ten in lansing, michigan. ($3.79 12 oz.)
pours a very deep copper with a beige head that drops in to a very thin haze.
the aroma malt, vanillia and burbon is perdominent, carmelized sugar and a hopsack are in the background.
the flavor of malt, vanillia, burbon, oak, toffee, hopsack, alcohol.
man what a great beer, very complex, is smooth yet very packed with flavor.
i want some for my cellar!

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

poured 6oz agressively into a 13oz snifter.

A.) 1/4" head fades quiclky and moves to the edge of the glass leaving some lacing. Color is a medium reddish brown.

S.) This is all about the malts, with some caramel and molasses in mixed in and a touch of alcohol warmth in the finish

T.) just like the smell , sweet malts with strong tones of molasses and caramel

M.) Medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation for the style

D.) Excellent for the ABV, I could easily enjoy one or two more, Unfortunately I only bought one :-(

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Bottled 4/19/12

A- pours a hazy khaki body with a light mocha 1" head that sticks around for a while.

S- sweet caramel, toffee, vanilla, sugar cookies. Bourbon-like.

T- starts out with some caramel, dark cherry, and vanilla notes and ends with a smokey, toasted malt and cocoa flavor. All of these notes go together quite well. No booze.

M- medium heavy body, medium low carbonation

I was really impressed with this brew. It's a super smooth, highly drinkable, complex old ale. As always, founders really nailed this one.

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

Poured with a 1/2" orangish head and liquid is a redich orange. Good lacing. smells of molasses, brown sugar and dried fuit.
tastes of molasses, caramel, dries apricots maybe even vanilla. Good alcohol burn in the belly, but hidden well by the full rich flavors.
I like it alot in the late fall and winter at the fire.

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 4/6/2012. Pours fairly cloudy red-orange color with a small dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big raisin, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, oak, biscuit, nuttiness, and toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with great complexity and balance of malt notes with light-moderate oak character that does not overwhelm. Taste of raisin, caramel, toast, toffee, molasses, biscuit, nuttiness, oak, light chocolate, light clove, floral, and toasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of raisin, toffee, biscuit, molasses, oak, nuttiness, light chocolate, and light earthy spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of malt notes with moderate oak presence; with a fair amount of hop balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an incredible old ale! Awesome complexity and balance of malt flavor with moderate oak presence; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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