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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

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,196
Hads: 4,246
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 185
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
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Reviews: 1,196 | Hads: 4,246
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Pizza Plant Transit. It was so good it was as if it was brewed right here. Dark boddy with thin head. Stouty roast aroma. Hoppy and spicy. Medium-full body. I like the style, it's more drinkable than a barleywine. The understated carbonation at this location does it justice.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bsuedekum and SamuelJackson45 for each sending me a bottle of this one!

Pours a murky amber color with a 2 inch light orange head that fades to a thin cap. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of malt, caramel, and maybe some brown sugar. Taste is of malt, caramel, brown sugar, with a spicy hop bite. There is a little bit of bitterness that quickly fades after each sip. A very low level of carbonation makes for a thick and chewy mouthfeel that is a bit flat. Overall, this is a pretty good beer from Founders but the mouthfeel is not that great in my opinion.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: two finger thick off white head on a murky amber with golden hues body.

S: mostly toasted malts, light toffee, breads, molasses and some dark fruits, mostly of the fig and apricot variety.

T: sweeter than I was expecting, mostly from toffee, caramel and brown sugars. malt and bread heavy. the alcohol is well hidden. I fairly spicey finish.

M: creamy and smooth medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: The malt profile is excellent and adds a lot to the mouthfeel. Its a little sweet for how I like this style. Very drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is brownish-amber in color and didn't arrive to my table with that much of a head. It's difficult to see any rising bubbles in the glass.
S: A somewhat sweet smell is evident--most likely from the molasses--but it isn't all that strong.
T: The taste is very well balanced and starts off with malty sweetness followed by hop bitterness in the finish. You can definitely taste some of the alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate, smooth, and somewhat syrupy.
D: I don't think I could have more than one of these in a sitting but it's definitely a good beer to sip.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

a really brilliant example of the style, and the time on oak really brings this to life. pours sort of a hazy burnt caramel color, and boasts a nice lathery off white head with outstanding retention. it smells extremely sweet, molasses and cane sugar, and a lot of alcohol. smells a lot like en English barleywine actually, with a similar malt profile. the flavor though is what makes this special. while it is intensely sweet, there is a lot more to it. there is some bready malt that reminds me of teacakes, there is a butterscotch character that coupled with the oak is simply sensational, and the alcohol, while strong, is also sort of inviting, its warming and friendly, easy up easy down, and that's hard to accomplish I think. very woody in the finish, and again very sweet. relaxed carbonation is ample, and the body is colossal. its not something I would drink everyday, that's for sure, but its a heck of a beer, really well built, and guilty of getting me pleasantly drunker than I anticipated. founders always rocks, and this old ale is true to form.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper with a nice white head. The aroma is that of dark and tart fruits mixed with sweet malt. The taste is quite sweet with a little bit of bread. A bit of the fruity sweetness as well. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very nice, and becomes a lovely sipper as it warms up.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a dark brown color without much head on top. The smell of the beer was malty and pretty sweet smelling actually. There was also some boozy aromas that flooded the nose too. The taste of the beer was sweet and lightly roasted, lots of caramel flavors and some fresh wood in there too. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Overall this beer was pretty good, I feel it gets better with some age to it. Either way it's another good brew from Founder's.

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Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a foamy head that fades away rather quickly but leaves a few dots and dashes

Smell: Toffee, stone fruit and vanilla

Taste: Opens with a big toffee flavor that adds a stone fruit and oak character, at first, and then a citrusy aspect by mid-palate, all laden with undertones of alcohol; after the swallow, the toffee sweetness and vanilla returns to mellow out the other flavors

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation

Drinkability: A very fine example of an old ale; not quite chewy enough to be a barleywine, but filled with complexity

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I always feel bad when I rate an Old Ale that isn't very old. But, since it is on the shelves, I will drink, and I will rate. Gulp....yep, it needs more time. There are some really nice flavors going on, but the beer is everywhere. The nose brings out everything from candied malts to spicy hops to dark fruits to caugh syrup. The tastes closely mimic the aromas, but with emphasis on a candy sweetness, harsh alcohols, and raisons and licorice. The beer feels a bit too hot and scrubbing in the mouth with sugary stickiness. It will be nice to see how the beer develops over the next year or two, but it's not ready yet. Thanks Clvand0 for the bottle.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
1.57/5  rDev -60.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a small foamy head with small rings of lacing. Aroma is super sweet, almost disgustingly so with some notes of alcohol. Taste is a huge mess between some intense sweetness, oily texture with some cloying notes of alcohol. I couldn’t find anything close to old ale but more of an American barleywine with some unbalance feature. I usually love product from this brewery but this beer did not profit from barrel-aging.

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Photo of largadeer
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Murky. Hazy. Turbid. Tons of shit in suspension. The head lingers for a surprising amount of time, given the style and strength.

Fruity aroma. Dates. Sugar, brown. Earth. Soil. Wood. The trees and forest. Pine needles. Spicy. Caramel. Much aroma.

Taste strong. Rye bread. Earth and soil. Strong. Alcoholic. Caramel. Much flavor. Thick. Fruit. Rum. Raisins. Rum raisins. Bitterness. Tannins. Grain. This is beer. Hello.

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

^That is a beautiful picture ^
Aged bottle, first release? 12oz. shared with kmpitz2, thanks!

It pours a tawny reddish brown, murky with suspended particles. Light gets through a little bit. Some spotty lace is left, and at the very least a ring around the edge.

Aroma is mellow, sweet toffee and caramel, I can tell this is a beefy one. As it warms, more depth is apparent.

Toffee flavors, with an oak nuance behind it. Very cohesive and mellowed, it doesn't feel alcoholic at all. Caramel and wood, sturdy and balanced. Age has worked wonders on this beast. Rich and fairly well carbonated, it has a divine feel to it. Seek it out...

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky melted toffee with blurry orange and amber edges. The pour resulted in scant head formation, just one finger of brown sugar colored cream that doesn't look as though it's interested in leaving much lace. That's okay, the beer itself more than makes up for it.

I like the nose, but it could be deeper and more complex. Maybe warming will help open things up a little. I smell earthy caramel, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. I've read that the 2006 vintage (this bottle) was aged in bourbon barrels. Unless something changes on the palate, I have my doubts about the barrel-aged bona fides of this batch.

Thankfully, Curmudgeon takes on more of a winning personality on the taste buds. I was beginning to think that Founders lost their touch for brewing great beer. No worries on that front. I love what I'm tasting at this point and should be blown away once the slight chill is lost. It tastes like one of those ales that likes to be at or near room temperature.

A prodigious amount of caramel malt is present, resulting in a 'sticky toffee pudding' flavor the likes of which I've rarely encounted. Accessory flavors include dark rum-soaked raisins and dark brown sugar-crusted bitter orange peel. What a fantastic confluence of sweet and bitter. Sweet wins handily, by the way.

Alcohol is beautifully integrated, while still providing a power and a presence that all old ales (the good ones anyway) need to have. I'm still reminded of rich, mellow dark rum, but thanks to the caramelized sugar and vanilla notes, I'm no longer scoffing at the possibility that this bottle is from one of the bourbon barrel-aged batches. Say that five times fast.

The mouthfeel is dangerously close to perfection. I've had bigger old ales and I've had sticker old ales, but I've haven't had too many that possessed this combination of size, smoothness and silkiness. This stuff is so easy to drink that I've almost drained the entire bottle when I thought I was only halfway through.

Curmudgeon is yet another outstanding beer from Michigan's best brewery (sorry Mr. Bell). There are very few beer artisans who nail each and every style like these guys do. That's why they're on my list of 'Top-10 American Craft Breweries' and will be for the foreseeable future. If you want a delicous old ale that is pretty close to the gold standard for the style, seek this one out.

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Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a clear rich auburn color with a thinner but well sustained white head.Alcohol dipped fruit and vanilla stand out most in the nose with a hint of brown sugar,its warming at malt driven.Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a little thinner than expected,flavors are sweet up front with some cherry-like fruitiness and vanilla and the alcohol gives a little burn,there is a racey drying hop finish with is nice and balanced.A sipping brew, a nice warmer on a day like yesterday.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 12 oz bottle that I received in a trade a long while ago, but never got around to actually trying. Served at cellar temperature in an over sized wine glass. Consumed on 07/22/2008.

Poured this one out in to the glass and it looked like a Barley Wine at first. Very hazy with a touch of sediment in the bottom. Dark amber color with some orange highlight and a minimal head. Nice side glass lacing through and a good bit of carbonation could be seen streaking up from the bottom.

The aroma was charged with alcohol. Really quite hot this surprised me. Brandy aroma was dominant. As it warmed through it did get a touch better and ended up with a nice malty aroma. Nice sweet smells of caramel and grain, some cereal like tones as well. A touch of spice in the flavor was evident right away, but the flavor was a touch hot as well until it warmed. Nice oak flavor running through here, with touches of cereal like grains and a nice all around profile. Bready in the middle with a drier, slightly hoped finish, but most of it was drown out but the rum like tasty and peppery flavor that ended it. The feel was very nice, with a good carbonation profile that just would not quite, and a medium body. A solid sipper, this one took me a bit to be able to finish as there was no way that this was going down all in one shot.

Overall a very solid beer, and a good example of the style, though I doubt this is anything that I would really seek out, as there are some much nice examples out there. Still though if it were sitting on the shelf near me I would definitely pick this one up.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tendermorsel for this bottle. I've been holding on to it for several months and have been meaning to crack it for awhile.

A: The pour is a dark, dark mahogany color with a lot of yeast floaties, and a thin ring of cream colored head.

S: The nose is quite rich with notes of sherry, dark fruit (raisins in particular), caramel, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: The sweet caramel malt is the primary flavor component with some sweet, dark fruits, vanilla, and quite a bit of alcohol. There's also a mild bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

D: A very nice old ale and a good beer to sip on throughout an evening.

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

10 ounce goblet - $9.00 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Dispensed into a simple, all-purpose goblet a hazed, mahogany-hued body with a scant, white head.

Smell: A rich, invitingly malty nose smelling of caramel, chunks of toast, and brown sugar stirred up into cake batter. Fruity notes of citrus, cherries, and green raisins punctuated by some stinging alcoholic wafts.

Taste: The lush, tempting sweetness of heavily caramelized sugars with additional tastes of toasted bread, light brown sugar, and spiced holiday cake. The fruitiness from the aroma is well-represented in a taste of raisins marinated in cherry liqueur and spiced with a bit of dried orange peel. Moderate bitterness provides a bit of balance, though this one remains fairly on the sweet side of things. Soft, sweet finish with plenty of alcohol warmth rolling in.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a mouthfeel both smooth and a bit sticky. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Bold AND beautiful. A quality sipper, even on a day in South filled with 100-degree heat and 100-percent humidity.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.31/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Honestly, this so-called "Curmudgeon" doesn't seem all that misanthropic to me. Just a colder-climate version o' good ol' Santiago. Something like that. Anyway, the beer pours a clear ruby, tinted slightly toward amber, topped by a short head o' ecru micro-foam. The nose comprises biscuits, walnuts, rich caramel, and a stinging underbelly of bright fruit. A healthy boozy feel slices through dully, marring the nasal proceedings. The taste continues the malty tradition set forth in the smell, in the process transmogrifying the fruit into a hoppy bitterness, strong and dull. A touch of leather rules the aftertaste. I can't call this a balanced flavor, but I won't go so far as to declare a state of koyaanisqatsi either. Hell, that damn droning is just annoying (and kinda boring after a while, too). Ahem. The body is a hefty medium, with a light carbonation and a very slight mouth-coating feel. Overall, an OK brew, but not one I would regularly pursue by any stretch of the imagination.

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Photo of mactrail
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Public House in La Jolla. Butterscotch and sweet malt heated up by a delicious boozy flavor, followed by a dry and hoppy flavor. Attractive coppery amber in the Saison duPont nonic. Starts with a modest foam and flattens out, but a nice tangy flavor and carbonation.

Intensely barrel flavored with a distinct toffee taste. Better earlier on with the frothy foam. Maple, molasses, and sweet yams. Bitter aftertaste, but not overbearing. Great version of the old barrel trick.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a murky brown color with no head and no lace.

S: The smell is of caramel, malt and alcohol.

T: The taste is sweet and boozy. It has the caramelized malt flavor & dark fruits along with the alcohol warmth. For all of its sweetness, it leaves a slightly bitter after-taste.

M: Very smooth for a beer with such a high ABV, light carbonation, medium-to-heavy body, finish is dry but leaves a little stickiness behind.

O: This one is a sipper and not a pounder but I could sip it for a while. It doesn’t fill you up but gets you going in a hurry.

I had been looking forward to trying an Ole Ale and I was looking forward to trying something from Founders, so I killed two proverbial birds with one proverbial stone. I’m now looking forward to trying more of both.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the stubby 12oz into a snifter. Picked this bottle up at Al's of Hampden.

A beautiful copper color w/ good clarity and visibly carbonated w/ 1/2 inch of light beige caps the ale w/ a tight bead and good amount of lace sticks. The aroma of sweet malt w/ hoppy esters and stone fruit blend with the mild pine element and slight citrus w/ a light alcohol scent. The feel is highly carbonated and pretty bitter for the style w/ moderately high level of sweetness w/ a warming of alcohol throughout.

The strong bitter note of piney hops is equalled by a strong caramel malt flavor with a candy like quality and slightly salty and acidic tinge from the high alpha hops with the flavors of alcohol and stone fruit essence. The hops have a woody character and mild acidity in the taste w/ a mild tanginess of grapefruit that is noted as it finishes. This old ale is a good beer, but I consider it slightly hop forward for the style. It is tasty and hoppy, but just misses the mark to be considered classic taste-wise. I enjoy it and the alcohol is mild which is nice, so it seem above avg all around to me.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First had: ?
This review applies to a recent tasting on tap at Teresa's, Wayne, PA

Poured a slightly hazy mahogany color with a thin cap of ivory bubbles for a head; not much to speak of in the way of retention or lacing. Aroma of bready malts, caramel, molasses, and dried candied fruits. The taste reflects the aroma, with flavors of sweet malts, toasty, dark sugars, fruitcake, tangy alcohol warmth, with a tinge of citrus and hop bitterness in the finish. Very nice brew, heavy-medium mouthfeel, lots of flavor, easily drinkable, though can be a little on the hot side.

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

Pours a quite foggy rubyhued amber with a thick creme head. Nose is minimal with caramel and dark fruits and a malty overall tone. Slight bit of booze. Flavor carries a kick of liquid aspects (boozy burn) with an earthy tone. Dark fruits. Sweet tone. Feel is thicker on liquid and low on carbonation. For an old ale, this seems a bit...young. It's nice, but I think 2-3 more yearsmight do it justice.

Thanks to spointon for this one!

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