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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

1,196 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,196
Hads: 4,246
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 184
Gots: 960 | FT: 55
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: 1,196 | Hads: 4,246
Photo of oelergud
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chubby 12oz brown glass bottle with a twist off cap and a label showing what I assume is a curmudgeon. 9.8 abv per the label.
Nice ruby body with next to no head, on agitation a tan cramy head appears briefly hence no lace.
Very inviting scent. Sweet malts with vanilla and a note of scotch, alcohol and wood.
Creamy vanilla hoppy flavor with plenty of wood notes, very nice flavor again with scotch notes. The aftertaste is long lasting and full of vanilla wood.
Medium full body with good coating and a nice sticky feel from residual sugars.
Excellent drinkability, far from your run of the mill craft beer. This ale will make any old curmudgeon crack a grin.


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Photo of atpben
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Founders brewery. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark reddish orange color. Very flowery in the aroma with caramel and light vanilla creeping in. The taste was just amazing coconut and toffee combined - wow. Later on molasses and caramel apples came in. A very uniquely tasting beer. Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy. A nice smooth finish. A great night cap beer or after dinner beer. Founders needs to be in Texas NOW!!!

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle served in a snifter. Poured a clear reddish copper with a finger of off white head. Big complex aroma of malt, oak, and some hops. Full bodied and rich. Flavors of chocolate and vanilla from the oak. A bit hoppier than an British style old ale. Long finish with more oak and chocolate. A big, rich flavored beer with a lot of different flavors going on. Nice!

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

12oz. bottle poured into a KBS goblet glass. Bottled date of 2/2009 printed on the neck! Wow, is Founders finally printing bottling dates now?!

(A)- Poured a light-medium brown amber that is nearly clear. Little foam present but did have a light layer of yellowish-white bubbles covering the surface. Tiny bits of lacing appearing here and there.

(S)- Slight hickory smokiness hidden behind some crazy caramel-ish malt complexities. Some thoughts of molasses & nuttiness.

(T)- Those malt complexities are really striking in the flavor profile. The caramel/molasses/honey/vanilla/butterscotch becomes a really different combination in the way they are layered; almost buttery. Fairly candy-like, but more like a sweet tawny port!

(M)- Like I said earlier, the texture of this is almost buttery smooth with a tickle of carbonation on the tongue. The tiny hop bitterness bite on the finish is almost nonexistent, but worth mentioning because its such a surprise amidst this malt monster.

(D)- The sweetness from the malts masks the whopping 9.8% pretty well. In my opinion, this is the pinnacle of the perfect dessert beer. It would go great with a great Cameroon wrapped cigar! I am excited to see how this will age considering how much like a tawny port this really is!

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Photo of wchesak
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Abbaye du Val-Dieu glass

A - dark ruby brown, minimal head, some lacing beginning

S - dark fruit, cherry, alcohol becomes more noticeable as it warms but never overpowers

T - creamy, cherry milkshake with some malty chocolate notes, rum and port like, more rum though

M - great smoothness, no bite or hotness from the alcohol, hardly any after taste at all

D - this is surprisingly drinkable for the style and abv, i have been focusing on anything hoppy or pale for the most part and wanted something malty and this hit the spot

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Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Brooklyn tulip / snifter. Pulled out of the fridge after two hours and sipped on for about an hour and change.

Appearance: A nice darker amber, with an off-white head, leaving disseminated droplets of lacing uniformly, pretty much, around the glass. By the end there's some floaties from the yeast, I suppose, as I don't think it's hop residue.

Smell: Initially what a vanilla chocolate swirl malted milkshake might smell like. Big malt aromas, nice cream, chocolate mousse, mild coffee, woody alcohol, and some citrus hops that become a bit too evident possibly, though they mingle nicely.

Taste: Right out of the fridge, the hops were almost annoyingly bitter. The cream and chocolate and vanilla malt flavors were big, then a huge wave of orange-rind hops attacked. As it warms to room temperature the hops remain, but they're not as dominant. The malt flavors come through well, and it's not to heavy on the raisins, as a lot of Old Ales can be, in almost that drippingly sweet sense on the tongue. But again the kind of chocolate malt flavors come through here, with some lighter caramel and vanilla and mild coffee, and then it sinks into the citrus hops, which I think still could be turned down a few notches here, especially when drinking semi-fresh. I really don't think it'd be too sweet if they weren't as dominant; after all, it's an Old Ale, right? So maybe some time in the cellar would do this some good and let the malt flavors really do their thing and become something great.

Mouthfeel: Big and viscous and coating, yet not cloying and not so thick that it ends up being like a RIS can be. Fitting for the style and nice as it warms.

Drinkability: A solid Old Ale, and even though for how little there are out there, there are better ones to try. I enjoyed this, and it's a great sipper as the weather gets colder, but either it needs time in the cellar to let the hops dissipate a bit, or it's just the tiniest bit out of whack to really become transcendent, for which it has the potential.

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Photo of currysage1
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Harpoon Leviathan glass (tulip?), cellar temp aged for 6 months.

Look is a really deep orange topped with a short lived off white head that drops to a ring and a wisp, alcohol makes this understandable.

Smell is brown sugar mixed with dark rum, allspice, clove, black pepper.

Taste is chocolate that gives way quickly to the molasses chewyness, a good level of hop bite, almost a plant like quality, almost like dried grass, theres that dark rum again.

Feel is pretty spot on for an Old, dense full slightly oily mouthfeel with low carbonation from the extended fermentation and high alcohol. Would certainly have again but one at a time. They definately keep the alcohol under wraps on this one.

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

Served on-tap at TND

Pours an amberorange color with some chestnut notes. Small, thin head that did not persist.

Lots of alcohol in the nose, whiskey dominates. After this dissipates some, the burnt sugar and caramel notes came through. A bit harsh.

Very sweet, raisin and dates come through too. The alcohol never far from the front, a bit too hot form me.

The sweetness, hotness, and fruitiness are too much for my liking - not bad, just not my taste.

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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 mwa423
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - An aggressive pour out of the bottle gave a single finger of head that died down to lacing that stuck through the rest of the glass. The color is dark brown with a hint of red when you hold it up to light.

S - Very sweet smell. There is a hint of malt, but it doesn't smell like the usual malt flavor, but of certain types of raw malt.

T - Very good style bitterness, really not complex at all but it gets it dead on for the style.

M/D - Very easy drinker, it just goes down easily and leaves a great aftertaste. While I doubt I would kill the four pack, it is something I wouldn't mind having regularly.

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Photo of Buebie
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtasy of Philbe311

Poured from a brown stuby 12 oz bottle into a pub glass. The beer is a super hazy unfilteres little delight. The color is a darker copper, no transparency here. Produceing about an inch of tan whipped topping head.
Slowly reduceing to leave a thin cap of retention and lace rings all the way down.
All the old ale's I've ever had were quite a bit darker then this. I brewed one not to long ago and added black triacle. So to say this does not look like an old ale is kind of an understatement.

It smells like an old ale though...
Soaked whiskey barrel aroma, with an aged leathery aroma too. Huge amounts of malt here, with sweetness to back, unfermented honey, damn, the malts are just so pungeant and delicious smelling. Sourdough bread, butter, some grassy hops with a touch of pine in the distance.

The taste is probably one of the most candy laced malty beers I've come across in a long long time. The malts do a dance on my tounge, hops are present, the hops are not so much fruity, but more of a dry bittering, with plenty of aroma hops coming into effect with the first sip.
That whiskey and oak is also adding some deliciousness to the flavors. Each flavor not overwhelming the other flavors. This is an extremely well balanced brew.
More sourdough breadyness, butter, caramel, lots of hops kicking it up into the swallow, and malt just overwhelming me with joy through it all.
Finishing bitter and yet sweet. Hops linger as does the malt and some of its sweetness. Its a battle of flavors to the end. Each flavor coming out boldly but allowing me to taste all of them and they all linger this way after the swallow.
No hot flavors here, just a slight bit of warmth into the swallow.

It would better fit the Strong ale catagory, but what can you do. I feel like it was mislabled for the style, but its still fantastic. I'm rateing it for what I thought of it overall, not on style. If I were to rate it on style, I'd have to deduct alot of points. But this beer is too good to do that.

This beer is dangerous crazy awsome good!

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Photo of jera1350
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium golden color with a tight head of tan foam with some fair lacing. The smell is pretty light. Pale malt, light oak. Not getting any molasses anywhere here. Tastes of pale malt, maybe some dark honey sweetness. Noticeable, but lighter hop bite. Almost a lager type flavor. Clean. The end delivers vanilla notes from the oak. Very smooth beer in the medium body range. Overall, this is somewhat simple and straightforward, but at the same time complex. I really enjoy the overall taste of this one.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque amber with very thin, whispy white head.
Smells strongly of malt, some bitter hop, and syrup.
Taste is incredibly smooth, I believe the maple heavy body coats the tounge and hides the 9.8% well, but it is very close overpowering.
The aftertaste is incredibly sweet and enjoyable.
Highly drinkable.

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Photo of degerbah
3.16/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a light amber with little head. Very little smell, the taste is unique in my tasting experience. Extremely sweet with very little bitterness. The bottle lists an ABV of 9.8% which is not apparent in the taste, not boozy at all. I can't put my finger on it, but I think this beer just has something that isn't doiing it for me. I greatly prefer almost every founders beer I've had to this one. The price $2.79 per bottle wasn't too bad, still not great.

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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 Birdiebeagle
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Pours a good hazy amber with a small tan head. The head last fairly well for being thin. Lacing is good. Aroma is honey and a big presence of alcohol. Almost has a whiskey like aroma. Has a light carbonation. A good mouthfeel. The flavor is well blended and the alcohol aroma doen't hold up the alcohol is well hidden. Has a full body. A real good finish and a good aftertaste. This is a good beer, a touch strong but a good beer.

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Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brass Rail Deli on 5/11/09.

A - Rusty orange/copper-colored body with moderate carbonation and two fingers of fluffy beige foam that left decent lacing, which ultimately slid down the sides of the glass.

S - Initial aroma smells of caramel and toffee malt notes with a hefty waft of alcohol. As the liquid warmed up a bit, a subtle dark fruit tang emerged suggesting raisins, plums and dried apricots.

T - Rich, sweet and malty with a prevalent dark fruit character hinting at dried, tangy fruits. Malt character features sweet caramel and toffee notes. Finishes with a touch of earthy bitterness and some mild alcohol notes.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and mild carbonation. Fairly slick mouthfeel with a warm alcohol presence, but pretty mild overall. Finish is quite sweet.

D - Pretty smooth for a 9.3% Old Ale, and certainly not as hot as the ABV would imply. While not a favorite style of mine, this was one of the better Old Ales I've had in my travels.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pour an amber-orange with a little bit of foam that disappears quickly.

S: Boozy caramel.

T: Hops, caramel, and and herbal sweetness. Too sweet for me, to the point of being cloying.

M: Very nice mouthfeel, great carbonation. Heavy body to it.

D: Take it easy on this one, I think it's a one per night kind of beer.

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Photo of jsh420
2.71/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

bottled 3/5/09

pours dark clear amber with small white/tan head that fades fast with no lacing

smell is all sweet candy carmel and alcohol - i could tell this was going to be a hot one

taste - i picked up some banana carmel and too much booze

mouthfeel was good light carbonation but not flat - body is on the a tad heavy and sticky

drinkability - not good this one need to sit a while

overall this beer is nowhere close to fresh old stock (which i love) but time might be on this ones side - i will check back in a year

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Photo of thirdeye11
3.78/5  rDev -5%
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.

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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 nsmartell
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a thin white head that doesn't stay for long.

Smell: Malty, sweet, alcohol and some whiskey.

Taste: Bready-malts, sweet and a hint of alcohol. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Very good old ale. Would definitely seek out and drink again.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Is there no cure for mudgeon? Pours a mostly hazy brown color with a light toffee haze to it. A soft white head with ok retention, although didn't last through the tasting, and limited lacing.

The nose has a good malt backing with decent complexity. Some sweeter caramel and a lighter melonodian aroma. Some minor bready and a light cocoa aroma. Some esters and phenols are prevalent. Big sweet plum and light raisin notes. Some minor herbal and earthy hop aromas but limited overall. The alcohol really comes out with some fusel notes.

The taste is similar but not as complex as the nose would indicate. The malt comes out with a slight grainy, slight bready and a more sweet caramel. Very distinct in its flavors. Would have liked more depth and complexity overall. The hops are on the light side but still detectable. More of an earthy, English style. Stronger esters come out, mostly raisins with a hint of figs. Noticeable alcohol with a slight fusel-esk nose. Could be a bit cleaner.

The body is more to the full side than moderate. But as mention before, the mouthfell is a bit lacking and I am looking more some more depth. Some heat and fusel notes are a bit of a distraction. The carbonation is light but ok. Overall a decent barleywine but some age could work magic on this beer.

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Photo of schroederm
3.78/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of dondeez21
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a snifter.
A: Deep Amber/ Rusty with lots of yeast floaties. Very thin head that was gone withing seconds. No lacing on the glass either.
S: Initial smell is Oak. It seems this smell gets stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Oak with a slight warming feel from alcohol. Not any hop charecter. This beer is all malt with oak.
M: Sticky Thick and warm.
D: This beer drinks pretty easy for almost weighing in @ 10%. One of the biggest charecteristics is the Oak flavor.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,196 ratings.