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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

1,203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 4,291
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 980 | FT: 53
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: 1,203 | Hads: 4,291
Photo of Bung
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. A fairly clear clear orange/amber pour. Miniscule off white head. Nice malty aroma, increases as it warms. Tons of malt flavor, some toffee, brown sugar with a little raisin. A small amount of hop presence. Nice and sticky and lingering. A little bit young I think, I bet the other three will age very nicely. Right now I'd say the Ola Dubh version I've had are a little bit better, but they're aged. This should have no problem competing with some age and at a bargain of a price comparitively. Actually bought a couple 3rd Coast Old Ales with this 4 pack, curious to see how they compare, even though they are considered barley wine.

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Photo of Mdog
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear orange-amber, almost no head.

Smell: At first it reminded me of leather mixed with cough syrup. But later smells remind me of whiskey but with less alcohol, woodiness and vanilla are very prominent.

Taste: Earthy toffee flavors at first. Later sips remind me of whiskey, lots of wood flavor and a nice caramel sweetness.

Drinkabilty: Definitely grew on me as I went through the glass.

Another single bottle special from Wisconsin. A complex beer that I could have sworn was barrel-aged, but I can't find anything on Founder's site that says that it is. Quite tasty.

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Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to czoch75 for this one! Thanks Clint, enjoying this as the Saints/Bears game goes to OT!

Pours an effervescent caramel with some sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Superb oaky bourbon notes, then a a whiff of dirt??

T: Bourbon soaked toffee, some caramel & a bit of smokeyness up front. Dryness dominates as this warms, along with boozey butterscotch & marmalade, vanilla & drambuie (sic). Finishes with some boozey oak, & butterscotch

MF: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation & some stickyness, thickens up as it warms

Drinks pretty easy, considering the style, ABV & dryness. This was on the verge of greatness, but needed more body or aging to pull it together

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this brew recently from Bobby91w, kryptic, and joe1510...thanks guys!!

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a murky deep copper hue with a one finger off-white head that falls to a thin creamy layer of foam. A decent amount of lacing remains clinging the sides of the glass. Smells of rich caramel malts, molasses, and alcohol warm the nostrils. Sweet spices and earthy hops in the nose as well as fig and prunes. Taste begins and ends quite boozy. Rum, dates, leather, and gooey caramel to start things off in the mouth followed by tingling hops. Toffee and bark flavors emerge midway finishing with a lingering vanilla bean sweetness. Medium body with a prickly feel on the cheeks. A tad above average carbonation for the style, could be a bit smoother. I'd take 4th Dementia over this in a heartbeat, but who wouldn't?

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

12oz to snifter pours a reddish amber brown, cream colored head faded to lacing - looks nice

smells of oaky caramel spice, barley, sweet and deep, slight alcohol heat - amazing!

taste is of bourbon, oak, caramel, creamy smoothness, very balanced, vanilla, slight alcohol heat, hops are nice - subdued but not lacking, bitterness pops out the most, flavor is blended nicely

mouthfeel is slightly hot and oily but not overtly, loads of flavor, yum! makes me want to age more

way better than last years batch :D

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Photo of Greggy
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a creamy 1 finger head in my mid-sized snifter. What I really like is the red-orange color with ample yeasty sediment. Speckled lacing coats the glass.

S- Some deep toffee, caramel, some buttery notes, a bit of alcohol can be felt. Additional notes of apple and dark fruit.

T- Starts out with some nice apple, caramel and toffee notes. There is a nice warming alcohol to it but it's cloying. I get some nice woody/oaky notes to it with a nice buttery, malty finish. Deep into the finish there is some nice oaky nuttiness. There is some nice dry hoppy notes to this brew but the malt is more prevalent.

M- Little to no carbonation. Huge thick feel.

D- This is quite drinkable especially given the ABV. It can't be had in MN but if you come across it someplace, definitely pick one up.

Thanks to KarlHungus for the bottle!

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Photo of jerrytrey
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am a huge fan of Founders but generally do not find Old Ales that I like out there. That made the Old Curmudgeon an interesting and bold purchase for me personally. The blend of overall sweetness along with the thickness in feel and overall complex flavors to old ales has made it difficult for me to find one I love.

I poured a 12oz bottle medium speed into a beveled 16oz NERAX pint glass. The beer poured out showing a strikingly perfect color for my tastes in a beer like this: a blend of brown caramel and burnt pumpkin orange colors surrounded the glass while at an angle looking upwards towards the thin head I see a deeper brown, almost like a stained mahogany. I know this is a "thick" beer and I haven't had a taste. Smell was of slight vanilla, caramel and raisin. No single smell seemed outright dominant. Extremely pleasurable smell in this beer. Upon first taste I am almost overwhelmed. First opinion was that this was indeed a "thick" beer. The mouthfeel was a tad surprising at first but soon I adjusted and the thickness of the beer was preferred. I soon realized how wonderfully balanced tasting a beer of this complexity is. Malty to my tastes, but not in a bad way. Just the right amount of caramel and mild malt balances things out by cutting the smack you get from the strength of the beer. This makes this beer very, very drinkable despite the punch it packs. I'm not 100% sold that I want a beer with this much action in the mouthfeel (initial lip hit, tongue fall of the beer, the follow-up coating of the tongue with thickness of the malt) but if you know you want an Old Ale, this has to come recommended. I think this is a solid A- on my personal scale. Only reason I say it can improve is the mouthfeel to me at this young age is still really thick. I have 3/4 of the pack down in the cellar for aging. I strongly believe this is a candidate with some aging and will be researching to see just how long people have been holding this for.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a murky brown-amber color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, with hint of floral hops. The taste of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and a hop presence that is quite higher than the aroma indicates. There is also a nice hot alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is a touch lighter than full bodied, with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a wonderful old ale. I would really like to try this with some age on it.

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Photo of kmeves
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

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Photo of chaz410
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow what a beer, I mean really, what a beer!! This beer pours cloudy and thick and seems like it's gonna be some sort of imperial brown ale. The smell is really sweet and smoot and has a crisp after effect. I love the tast of this beer, it is laced with vanilla and oak notes along with heavy malts. Caramel malt really rings out in this monster beer, it's really smooth too. I love this beer, share it with a friend and enjoy!

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Photo of johnd513
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressively poured into my Duvel glass, this beer has a hazy auburn color with an almost non existent head. Smells fruity and sweet with caramel and alcohol. Tastes of malt and sweet fruit with honey and caramel flavors. This beer is very smooth with a medium body and is nicely carbonated with alcohol at the end. Overall this is a great choice from Founders. I usually would not go for something as sweet as this but I am loving every sip of this one. A must try.

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Photo of MacDomer
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - A bit of an aggressive pour results in a huge two and a half finger thick, pillowy head which lasts forever. The color is a very nice dark saturated amber/rust color with some deep blood-orange highlights. Just gobs of sticky white lacing.

S - Very appealing nose. Loads of vanilla and sweet rum-soaked fruitcake, hints of bourbon and wood. Some faint hops at the end. It's complex, but could be a bit bigger or more powerful than it is. Not that it's weak, but it would easily be able to handle a larger nose.

T - Again, vanilla, light bourbon and wood, light and medium fruits. Sweet, like brown sugar and browned-butter baked peaches. Lots and lots of caramel. Both fruity and spicy mid-palate and nice warming alcohol at the end.

M - Really great mouthfeel! Fuller body, super creamy and smooth. Low carbonation. Finishes pretty clean with a long finish. This is super, super silky.

D - Pretty high considering the ABV. Very tasty brew and the flavors don't get tiring, and with the great mouthfeel, I had no problem drinking this beer and could easily drink another one or two.

Another great one from Founders.

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

A - Curmudgeon pours a thick, lightly carbonated, warm deep reddish amber color.

S - Brown sugar caramelizing in sweet butter. Malt sneaking up from behind.

T - I think this is just my sweet tooth talking and that I might be biased here, but I absolutely love the taste. Sweet, caramel, with sort of a spicy frontend.

M - Bubbly and on the thick end of medium.

D - Fantastic but very brown sugary sweet, maybe not for everyone.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep hazy auburn, woody color, with some semi-discernible floaty bits if you look carefully enough. Head is far smaller than that of any other Founders brew I've had. There's about a 1/2" of creamy white bubbles initially which turns to a thin layer. Aroma is appealingly intriguing. Orange peel, lemon, cranberries, wood and leaves, grapes, softly liquor-like, phenolic and flowery. A lot to take in for sure but also well blended. Taste is also a lot to behold. Whiskey soaked fruits, again orange and cranberries, chocolate, tobacco, sweet caramel malt and cream/lactose, with nice bitterness through the finish. This is intense but tasty. The body + texture are extra nice. Thick and full, not overly syrupy, smoothly slick and perhaps creamy. The carbonation is subtle and just right for this also. Its a slow drinker but appropriately so.

This would certainly be welcome one at a time, once in awhile. Probably better off after dinner rather than before or during.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders- Curmudgeon

A- Thick reddish orange with a big thick white head. Small lacing.
S- Sweet fruity malt (cherry and prune) with sugar and a dusting of chocolate.
T- Very sweet cherry/ plum malt with a touch of cocoa powder.
M- Again sweet with a dried fruity body and a tart finish.

Overall- Very sweet with big doses of dried fruits and a big alc. warmness made this an enjoyable 1 pinter.

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Photo of andylipp
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Appearance -A deep orange amber pour with ¼ inch of head in my tulip. The head quickly dissipated to a thin slick. Coats the glass with each swirl.

Smell -Sweet malt, caramel, alcohol, wood, brandy and port.

Taste -A malty toffee sweetness quickly gives way to an extremely complex palate of dried fruits, oak, whiskey, some hoppy bitterness and a long, woody finish. A late hint of vanilla/caramel in the finish, also. Nice.

Mouthfeel -The body had some nice viscosity to it, yet the carbonation was a bit too skimpy for me. Warming alcohol as it goes down.

Drinkability- It's a sipper, to be sure. More than one at a sitting would be too much. It shows every bit of it's ABV in every sip, yet it is fairly smooth.

Comments- I wondering if a few months in the bottle might take the remaining edges off of this one (but the screw-off cap makes me hesitant to try it).

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Photo of joeskirkie
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a snifter near-opaque copper. Not much in the way of head.

On the nose there are some dark fruit notes, some caramel, vanilla, and alcohol.

Taste is intense: creamy vanilla sweetness and alcohol. Hints of some dark fruits, but mostly vanilla.

It's really nice to to relax with. It's smooth like a Bailey's or a good bourbon.

I can see myself getting more of these.

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Photo of AltBock
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was able to try this Founders beer on tap courtesy of the High Street Grill. It was still on tap there around 11/29/2008. They served it to me in River Horse pint glass.

I saw the bartender pour it straight from the tap and it looked like he was pouring a slow thick molasses into my pint glass. When the beer settled, I saw that it was a hazy cranberry orange color. It had more cranberry than orange in it. On top of this hazy brew was a good 1/2 an inch head of pure white foam. This head of foam had decent retention that left behind a long lasting skim of white foam, a small string of white rings, and one streak of white lace. The aroma was no joke! This Old Ale was on the sweet side with roasted wheat, plenty of sweet black cherries, a touch of caramel, a subtle hint of grapefruit, lightly roasted pine needles, and a few dried herbal hops at the end. The taste was messing around either. The taste kicks off on the sweet side with toasted caramel malts, a speck of roasted wheat, and a splash of dried black cherries. Then after the black cherries leave the tongue, the taste then goes dry, bitter, and alcoholic with dried citrus hops, a few dried citrus fruits, quite a few pine needles, and a big bite of alcohol. Sometimes the hops and alcohol will mix together to make the taste a little harsh to drink. This was clearly a full bodied beer with a strong full flavored aftertaste of dried citrus hops, black cherries, a gentle touch of caramel, and plenty of alcohol. This strong aftertaste will linger on for some time. This beer doesn't even try to mask its high alcohol content. It was a nice lightly sweet big beer, but like I said before, it can get a little harsh to drink sometimes. Be careful with one. Take your time sipping this big beer.

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Photo of Shumista
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle allowed to sit out of the fridge and warm for 20-25 minutes before being poured into my Chimay goblet.

A- Curmudgeon pours a dark amber, with a 1 inch creamy off white head.
S- Thick sweet malts, toffee, caramel, alcohol, and some woodiness.
T- Very unique. The backbone is certainly the huge sweet malts but there is a ton going on here. Molasses, caramel, dark fruits, some wood character, whiskey and a very noticeable alcohol presence that borders on being too much. I don't notice a lot of hoppy bitterness in the flavor but I'm sure it's there, intermingling with everything else.
M- Thick, creamy and very full bodied. As I said the alcohol presence is strong and noticeable.
D- The alcohol being as noticeable as it was took away from this beer's drinkability. One would be great to sip next to the fire on a cold winter night, but I don't think I would want another. Maybe I'd save one and pour it over my pancakes in the morning though.

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

Reviewed from notes as I enjoyed this on-tap at La cave Du Vin several weeks ago now. Served to me in a tulip glass. This beer is a dark amber/copper color with a tan head that was about 1/2 inch thick when served. It eventually sets to a medium sized white ring lining the inside of the glass. Good lacing. Has a malty caramel aroma with strong hints of some dark fruit and oak. Has a caramel malt flavor along with the oaked flavor and some dark fruit which is a bit tart and maybe a hint of spice and a bit of alcohol. Has a very crisp, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink.


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Photo of cvstrickland
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12-ounce bottle served cellar-cool, poured into a small tulip glass yields a dark copper body capped with a half-finger-deep layer of creamy foam a shade darker than 'ivory'. The head recedes rather quickly into a medium-thick collar that leaves wispy lacing on the glass.

The smell is pretty mild overall, but there is a bit of cocoa-dusted caramel and toasty malt to keep me interested. A whiff of tangy unsulphured molasses emerges late in the drink

The taste is savory and toffee-sweet with a sizzle of cocoa bitterness and caramel-infused black coffee. Waves of dark brown sugar interspersed with with rich dark chocolate mostly cover a tangible alcohol note that comes off fresh, vanilla-like, and cleansing.

The drink is full-bodied with a tingle of carbonation and silky feel. Very good drinkability for style.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a hazy orange color with a decent tan head. There are plenty of floaters in this one as well. The head recedes to a layer of bubbles across the top and leaves some spotty lacing all over the glass.

S- At first I can pick up some malts both sweet and caramel. Can also find alcohol, a woody smell, and bourbon.

T- Again I'm blasted by malts here. Followed up by a woody, light bourbon taste and some darker fruits that I could pick up with the nose. Alcohol finishes this one up.

M- Medium to full in body and low to medium carbonation.

D- A sipper for sure but still fairly easy to drink.

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass

A - Pours a surprisingly clear ruby color with a minimal off-white head. Minimal lacing. Beautiful color, not much else.

S - Intense sweetness with a nice woody flavor for balance. Plum, raisin and dark currants with some smooth vinous qualities. Alcohol is a strong component.

T - Smooth with strong sweetness from beginning to end. Not to say that its not complex. Loads of dark fruit flavor: plum, raisin, dark grapes. Vanilla and a delightful earthy, wood flavor. Strong alcohol bite develops at the finish as this beer warms. Beautifully complex, and true to its name.

M - Rich and full body with a smooth mouthfeel. Sharp alcoholic bite at the finish.

D - Delicious flavor stays accurate throughout. High alcohol in flavor doesn't necessarily translate to high alcohol in effect and drinkability. A terrific brew from Founders.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours blurry nut brown in color (a little lighter than I would have expected) with a single finger head that dissipates to a foamy swirl. Nose is deep caramel and vanilla, not much else going on here. Taste is much like the nose with the addition of some hop bitterness and a slightly woody taste. The alcohol is very present, but not overly so for the style. The mouthfeel is a little thin compared to other old ales I have had. Drinkability is only so so on this one, the hops seem oddly placed, perhaps in another six months this will improve.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a single 12 oz of this guy after really being impressed by the Breakfast Stout. I really dig the artwork of the labels, and always love me a stubby bottle. Poured into an oversize snifter after letting it warm to room temp a bit.

Curmudgeon entered the glass a milk, honey brown. Head is basically nonexistent, which is a cause for concern for this particular bottle. A thin film around the edges, leaving very minimal lacing. Also leaving much to the imagination is a lack of much in the sell department. Though, in its defense, as it warms they come more alive. Gooey caramel, spiced fig, and other sweet candied notes come alive, in what is obviously going to be a nice big malt bomb.

And a big malt bomb it is. My eye lit up instantly. After beginning to be let down by this brew, the taste really came in guns blazing. Curmudgeon begins by coating your tongue with a rye bread, moving to the back of the mouth releasing the sweetest of old ale yeastiness. Tons of sweet sugar, a big carame punch, and dark fruits. The finish is balanced out with a slighty grassy bitterness. Finish also is quite dry, keeping your hand in constant swing for more.

While starting slow, this one finished with a bang. Technically this isn't my favorite, but for sure I'll be loading up my closet with these.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,203 ratings.