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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,188 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,188
Hads: 4,206
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 177
Gots: 946 | 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: 1,188 | Hads: 4,206
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (1,351 characters)

Photo of TexIndy
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (796 characters)

Photo of Axic10
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (549 characters)

Photo of supercolter
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (556 characters)

Photo of nsabo
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (560 characters)

Photo of Roke87
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (1,285 characters)

Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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! (430 characters)

Photo of gatorhophead
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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 :-( (540 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of hdrider
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (318 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (1,312 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (666 characters)

Photo of kkipple
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I dumped this into my snifter and was... uh, rewarded with a languid, billowy and sticky tan head that rose majestically atop this thick lookin' brew. Curmudgeon is a dirty rust-amber color with a ton of sediment suspended in the mix. Looks like something illiterate Cape Cod fishermen would drink out of lead cups to stave off pneumonia. I dunno. It's ugly, but somehow commands respect.

Not quite sure where to start on the nose here... let it warm, first off. A lot of subtle malt nuance going on here... sweet and smooth caramel notes, a hint of nut, and a VERY reserved juniper-pine hop note that reminds me of good Dutch gin. There's something woody and vanilla here, but it again is distant and quiet. The alcohol warmth is detectable but reserved for a 9% brew. A touch of lime citrus and oxidized booze (sherry) blend into the mix, and the result is a super smooth, old-tasting... old ale. Huh. I am really enjoying smelling this!

The flavor is likewise reserved and ultra-smooth. Big toasted grain-sugar malt notes are blended with smooth sherry, vanilla, grape tannins and spruce into a deliciously smooth and whiskey-like brew. Yes, I know there is no bourbon here, but it brings to mind some of the best small batch spirits I've had. This is what your crotchety, war-vet uncle wouldn't let you have as a kid. It is an adult beverage in every sense of the word. Old and rewarding, but it takes time.

The mouthfeel is superlative. Smooth, sticky and very lightly carbonated; this beer practically glides down your throat. Once more, this tastes like it has 5 years on it. The finish is brown-sugar sweet with sherry and just enough pine hop bitter to balance. Lingering, pleasing and smooth.

Curmudgeon is a beer to sip and savor. A wonderful nightcap, Founders has taken the old ale to dizzying heights. This is one of the best I've had. On those cold winter nights in front of a fire when you reflect on your life's failures, Curmudgeon will be right there with you, glaring and mumbling and somehow making everything seem a little bit better. Highly recommended. (2,080 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up at Archer Liquors in Chitown, thanks Randy!

Pours a cloudy brown/amber, thin tan head forms, nice thick lace ring around the glass, good retention, looks like a sipper! Smell is nice, bourbon, vanilla, raisin/date goodness, toffee, some chocolate, coconut, very nice. Taste is toffee, some bourbon, vanilla oak, coconut, very rich and malty, bit of roast, nice clean bitterness in the finish, just right. Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation, nice heat going down. I could sip this for hours. (510 characters)

Photo of BBP
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber brown with a decent head, but very weak on the retention. Slight lacing.

The aroma is of candied sugars and raisins.

The taste lives up to the smell, but there's also a slight grassy and spicy hop presence. When fresh it tasted supremely balanced and smooth. After a little bit of age, it's even smoother, but it leans towards the sweetness a bit more. It almost tastes like honey with some age.

The mouthfeel is Medium full, and medium heavy, and fairly creamy on top of that. The finish is moderately dry and sticky.

Overall, this is one of the most smooth drinks I've had yet. The blending was done very tastefully. I prefer it fresh due to the more noticeable hop presence, but it's still a treat aged. (725 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby/brown/orange color with minimal head and nice ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet malts, oats, some sweet fruit, a pinch of hops, honey, cinnamon, and a bit of alcohol. Great scent, there is a lot going on here, but not too much, and the alcohol is balanced very well and not overpowering.

Taste of oats, honey, molasses, sweet malts, cinnamon, and some alcohol. Finishes with oak and some bourbon. As impressive as the scent, for being so fresh this is impressive to have such depth and strength, being balanced and complex already I can't wait to see how this is aged.

Mouthfeel is heavy, smooth, and harsh. A strong mouthfeel for a strong beer, good stuff. (676 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky light mahogany, with a moderately building off- white head.
Bashfull carbonation recedes to a ring around the glass quickly, with only a trace of lace.
Aromatics start off with a "wow". Substantial amounts of bourbon, oak, cherries, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Boozy and rich, fruity and approaching vineous.
Alcohol is warming and the Curmudgeon becomes more approachable as he warms up.
Thickish and syrupy mouthfeel, slick and chewy.
Pallet is a bit brash and aggresive.. Subtle, is not.
Loads of residual malt, alcohol-soaked fruit, oaky tannins, toffee, caramel, and bourbon.
Bitterness to check, and alcohol is apparent and flattering, not overpowering.
Finishes a bit sweetish with warming bourbon notes and an oaky dryness.

A large example of the style, and should benefit greatly from extended cellaring.
Kickass. (845 characters)

Photo of alexgrahamlv
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown with a strong hint of redness in it. Very cloudy and cannot see through it. No head retention in this beer. In aromas there are cherries as well as raisins. On the taste there are cherries perhaps a slight brown sugar taste. There is almost a stale fruit taste but not in a bad way whatsoever. Full bodied, not heavily carbonated but produces a tingly sensation on the edge of the tongue. I actually enjoy this beer quite a bit. This beer is 9.8% but not a strong alcohol taste at all. Enjoy! (498 characters)

Photo of argock
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date apparent. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.60.

A: Burnt amber with thin 1/2-1 finger light beige head that reduces quickly to a thin cap with spots of lace left.

S: Aroma is reminiscent of cherry-banana cake with caramel frosting with a woody, light citrus edge. Very bready and sweetly fruity all at once with a flash of heat.

T: The flavor is also very fruity with loads of caramel with cherry, banana, and date/plum accents. There is some toasted maltiness lending a bready quality. Cocoa notes are plentiful as well. Hops are pretty much in the background and add a little leafy touch.

M: The mouthfeel is lightly syrupy if that's possible. It is keenly coating while retaining some lightness, probably due to the even, perfect carbonation. Aftertaste is long and woody and resembles a cherry cordial.

D: A highly drinkable (and good value) old ale/barleywine with well-hidden alcohol and succulent sweet notes that blend together exceptionally smoothly. Another hit for Founders. (1,098 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade like most I now forget where it came from.... Whoever sent it Thanks!

A: Pours a reddish brown hue with a thunderous head. Quite a few bubbles but very little lacing.

S: Very big. Tons of malt, oak, bourbon, cherries and vanilla. You could pass this off for a very nice snifter of Bourbon.

T: The smell defined the taste in this one. Tons of oak. Like fine barrel aged bourbon baby yet soo much more complex. Besides the oak the alcohol is present, there is also vanilla and chocolate candied covered cherries. Lovely Brew.

M: Medium bodied yet clingy. Takes hold of my mouth and throat with the strong oakiness, and burns its way down.

D: Like Bourbon and Whiskey I would drink this one only in small doses. It's a sipper, but a very fine one indeed. To be enjoyed one bottle at a time.

Overall: I have gotten into the Old Ales recently and this one is a perfect example. I would like to get another and age it a bit to see what it does to the flavor. If the alcohol taste died down a bit, that would be a plus but this is one very complex brew. Founder's is quite possibly my second favorite brewer out there and as I continue to taste more and more of their expertly crafted brews such as this one; they continue to gain on Stone which at this time is my first. (1,306 characters)

Photo of rodlavers
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage poured into founders snifter

Two finger off-white head dissipates over several minutes to a very fine layer and bubbles relegated to the ring around the glass -- what's there is a bit fluffy, but minimal. Red/copper coloring, with floating particles. Smell is delicious -- vanilla, molasses, malt, and hints of the oak in which it was aged. Love the smell. Taste follows the nose very similarly, except for sweetness. It's very sweet and for me, not particularly drinkable, meaning I don't think I can drink this every day. Vanilla is prominent, with malt and molasses; the sweetness somewhat masks the oak. Mouthfeel is smooth, syrupy, medium bodied, with some carbonation. Aftertaste is sweet and vanilla. Over I really like this beer -- it gets better with age. I look forward to tasting my 2011 vintage later this fall when it has 18-20 months on it. (869 characters)

Photo of jtell
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red with slight caramel coloring. Little to no head and no lacing. Smell is of pure bourbon. Vanilla, oak, malt, and sweet. Its all there. If I hadnt poured this out of a small bottle I would have guessed it was a bourbon. Taste is exactly like the smell. Strong, oaky, little to no carbonation. This is a great after dinner sipping beer. Couldnt really imagine having more than one of these but I will definitely enjoy the one that I have. I had this about 1 year ago and it was very sweet and tasted like bubblegum. It has aged into a sweet, but not cloying beer. It is a very nice beer. (597 characters)

Photo of Mavigo
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this a few times before. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a sumptuous ruby, mahogany color that is accompanied by a 1/4 inch tan head that lingers for a few minutes before dissipating completely. Has a few patches of lace but not much.

S: Incredible aroma, smells of licorice, oak, honey, caramel, plums, yeast, molasses, cinnamon, malts, spices

T: A quite sweet and flavorful beer. It's a bit syrupy but not overtly so, honey, oak, molasses predominate with tinges of plums, yeast, and cinnamon coupled with a slight alcoholic kick at the end.

M: Full bodied, slightly carbonated, very thick and rich. Drink slowly.

O: Conforming to all my other experiences with Founders beers, this was incredible. I rarely drink old ales, I know this is not my first but I can't remember my last but this one will always stick with me. Expensive yet it's nose and mouth candy, got to have this one. (895 characters)

Photo of jjayjaye
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color without much of a head at all.

The smell is intense and dominantly bourbon, vanilla, cherries and a little coconut.

Medium bodied, the mouth is initially conditioned by the alcohol, but that effect doesn't linger. A hint of carbonation...and that's all this one needs. Definitely a warm ale and a sipper at that.

The flavor has the classic old ale caramel molasses thing going on, and the bourbon character complements it really well IMO. It's quite sweet but doesn't have that lingering, coating character.

Drinkability - This one is nicely done. I'm assuming that these would probably have a decent shelf life too (666 characters)

Photo of BeerLover99
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - carmel, amber, no head, unfiltered, fine lacing.

S - fig, plum, oak, spices, malt, honey.

T - sweet fruit, honey, molasses, bread, with oak/smoky and mild bitter + tart finish.

M - medium/heavy body, velvet smooth, light carbonation to hold

D - Big sipper and mighty fine brew. This gets better as is reaches closer to room temperature. I will hoard the 4 pack I bought for special occasions over the next year and share with worthy beer geeks. This beer once again proves to me why I love Founders, just damn fine complex and delicious beer. (552 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,188 ratings.