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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,188 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,188
Hads: 4,204
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: 4,204
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky muddled ambrosia sits in my chalice large off white beige head that dwindles slow and leaves behind sparse lacing. Aromatics are the impressive part of the equation early on with herbal mint and pine scented incense, interesting spice mix almost like eating at an aromatic Indian restaurant. Malt highlights are deep alcohol infused ripened figs and plum with a touch of smoked peat whiskey highlights, talk about a cigar beer. By the way this thing never saw the barrel it's all malt, hop, water and yeast. Flavor provides excessive bitterness and massive malt, I love the mix. Alcohol esters with ripe big fruit profile includes hints of toffee with caramel infused tart apple, figs, and plum notes. Heavy pine lacquer bitterness, with vanilla oak and butterscotch notes. Heavy dry yeast tone with a soothing alcohol burn at 9.3%. Mouthfeel is full bodied yet doesn't hit the viscous level on my texture scale. Carbonation is natural smooth and cleansing between the brash bitterness and dry yeast profile. Ending notes on the palate are a blend of excessive malts and bitter earthy hop, great stuff. Drinkability, is excellent makes you overanalyze beer, for under three bucks this old ale may have pushed the style further than any other version I've had to date. Including the other famous Michigan version, this beats the pants off the Third Coast Old Ale, grab a Drew Estates Natural cigar and a four pack of this for an Old World experience. (1,455 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mild head that recedes a little too quickly to a single bubble layer. Very cloudy with lots of yeast chunks in the base of the glass. Milky but thin lace on the glass side. Lots of stickiness.

Toasty and malty in the nose. Lots of biscuit with a touch of chocolate. Very low hop bitterness.

Think thick and oily (from alcohol) brown ale. Nice hop finish, but the rest is all malt--rich and chocolatey. This is a beer that sticks to your ribs. There are sherry overtones and the biscuit flavor shows up in a subtle way.

This is a complex beer for the style, but rather than the hop/malt balance, this is more of a mystery tour of malt flavors. (645 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque magenta appearance, slim, thinnish head...likeable, for the style.

Wicked aroma, twisted, thick with dark fruit, port wine, brandy, anise, a bit woody, alcohol evident...fading a touch from the first...but a formidable presence right off the bat. Strong in all aspects.

Tastin'...Thick, clingy, full,old, huge, massive...what, again? A little sweet, and deliciuos,...yum...yum, yum, yum...Gets to mellowing here, and there, but still a magnificent presence. Nice barleywine, I mean "old ale". I mean, "whatever", all the way around.

Sweetness succeeds in the end, emboldened by the great fruity flavor and matched up with the booze. I love it. That's a fine compliment, from one curmudgeon to another. (720 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 chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle with a bottled on date of Jan. 2013.
Pours hazy, orange-brown with a small, weak head.

Aroma: sweet and boozy with a clear trace of oak. hints of citrus and toffee.

Flavor: Mildly sweet; hints of over-ripe soft fruits and toffee; pretty good until the finish and aftertaste, then notably better.

Feel: medium-full body; slightly harsh (ABV); warming.

O: interesting strong ale. (399 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazed orangeish brown with a thin head that becomes a wisp. Some vanishing lace sticks.

The smell is of honey, caramel, nuts - reminiscent of honey-covered walnuts dipped in caramel. There is a fruitiness towards dates/prunes.

The taste is sweet - honey and caramel - not catching the 50 IBU's. Sweetness balanced by an ashy smokiness that leaves a burnt aftertaste. The burnt character shows in some sips more than in others, oddly enough. Not digging that part, which puts a dent in the flavour. Alcohol present, but not too sharp or overwhelming.

Full-bodied and a bit sticky. Mild carbonation does cut through the thickness.

Considering booziness and burnt notes in the aftertaste, it does glide down pretty easily. Since the style is so varied, I would say it fits the style well enough. An interesting brew that is quite good, though getting rid of burnt edges would go a long way. (906 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra from jsanford, thanks Jacob. Served in a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and hazy and forms a thin broken nearly non-existent head even after a rough pour. Looks OK.

Beer smells caramelly slightly alcoholic. Smell is really nice.

Beer is thick and syrupy. Very heavy. Its strong and heavy on the palate. This is much bigger than I expected but its still good. Overall an enjoyable big strong ale. (401 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Matilda Chalice

Pours hardly any creamy white head. Fades to a thin ring around the glass that sticks around, but no lace. Color is a robust burnt copper. Beer has sediment floating around in it.

Aroma: I get alcohol, plums, grapes, honey, raisins, figs, brown sugar, earthy hops. This beer is very complex, as it should be.

Taste: I can definitely taste the alcohol in this beer as it is quite hot. A lot of dark dried fruits, grapes, raisin, plums are here. Figs, brown sugar, raisins, and honey also present. A lot similar to the smell. I also get an apple taste as well. Hops are pretty much covered by the heat, but they are there.

Mouthfeel: Boozy, creamy, and somewhat smooth. Medium to full body. Medium level of carbonation. Ends with a boozy dried fruit flavored aftertaste.

Overall, I know this is an old ale and thus going to have a lot of alcohol, but the heat is just to much for me. I am slowly sipping on this one and it will take a while to finish. It is good, but I bet a few years might do serve it well. (1,043 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky brown color with a very small head upon pouring, but it quickly reduces to some sparse bubbles on top. Little bits of particulate floating in this one. Decent lacing. with some forming on the opposite side I was drinking from.

S: Deep caramel, some butter, butterscotch, raisins, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is full of caramelized malt and dark fruits, mostly raisins, but also a little bit of fig and prune. Not as much alcohol as I was expecting based on the aroma. Slight butterscotch flavor on the backend.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather smooth with a good level of carbonation. Slightly sticky finish.

O: A slow sipper for sure. Pretty good, but not my favorite. Probably the first Founders beer I haven't really liked. (765 characters)

Photo of ShanePB
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Having not had this beer in well over 1.5 years, I decided to give this another try. Served on-tap at, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Ruby copper colored body, fairly clear but definitely has a bit of haze. Small off-white head that didn't last too long, nor did it leave any real lace on the glass. To style, it looks alright; nothing spectacular but touches above average.

S: Deep dark, rich caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses and a definite boozy element. Not overwhelmed by any one quality but towards the end the oak is more noticeable. Fresh, matured oak wood creates an additional layer of depth but doesn't take the aromas deep enough, in my opinion.

T: Initially there's nothing on the front of the palate, instead it's consumed by the boozy bite from the swallow. Another sip, along with some palate adjustment, brings forward the dark and rich flavors. Molasses, burnt sugar and dark fruits (fig, raisin) are halfway in. The back end and finish leaves with a strange astringency from the oak. Overly woody and a bit out of place it seems. The alcohol doesn't fuse with the wood notes like other great wood/barrel-aged beers do.

M: Fairly well carbonated and a bit thinner on the palate than I would have recalled or liked. Not watery but not the feel I was hoping for in an Old Ale.

For me, this style is certainly hit or miss and while I don't think this was a complete miss, it wasn't a dead-on hit either. There are some really nice complexities in the beer but also some very tangent flavors. There doesn't seem to be a mastered balance in the flavor profile, but it still does have qualities that make it enjoyable. (1,641 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber, almost orange color with a thin off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm, burnt toffee scent that's rich and full of alcohol. The taste is good as well. It has a dry, alcohol driven feel that's loaded with caramel malt and burnt toffee sweetness. It goes down slow and easy with a nice bit of warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very solid old ale. It's brewed to style and drinks well. (522 characters)

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brass Rail today during lunch. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass it appears a clear amber color with some lighter orange colors around the edges and a thin lacing of yellowish tanned head. Spotty amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is of sweet malty grains with a touch of orange character. Taste has a welcoming warmth of alcohol that is also solvent in flavor upfront with a sweet malty caramel backing and light citrus hop bitterness that mingles with a flavor of bitter orange rind. The hop bitterness lingers in the mouth with a bit of a resine-like piney flavor. Medium to heavy body with a light amount of carbonation. Other flavors of grain linger in the mouth. As it warms, more residual sugars come out in the taste much like dark sugar akin to caramel that has somewhat of a smokey quality about it. Overall pretty decent but doesn't have the wowing factor that I have come to expect from most Founder's offerings. (952 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours an amber color with an off-white head. The aroma has a lot of caramel and dark fruit notes, as well as a good dose of alcohol. The flavor is similar. The caramel malt is pretty strong and provides a decent amount of sweetness. It is accompanied by some dark fruit and dark cherry notes, as well as some tobacco and alcohol. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. (379 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is mildly hazy and appears orange to copper in color. The head is off white hued, measuring approximately an inch thick. A substantial amount of lacing is left on the glass.

The aroma offers malt, alcohol, oak, vanilla, banana, and rum.

The flavor is strong and complex. As prefaced in the nose, alcohol, malt, and banana are the prevalent flavors. The beer is still a bit hot, and could likely benefit from some cellar time.

The feel is medium-heavy on the palate, with alcohol content noticeable throughout. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall, a decent brew from a great brewery. This one is a good candidate for sharing a few ways. (645 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a thin, white layer of head that fades quickly

S - caramel, cake batter, sweet, bread, toffee, faint alcohol

T - caramel, bread, fruit, faint bitterness

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, perfectly carbonated

This is a nice, malty beer that is very enjoyable. The malts are very nicely balanced and the bitterness is more like a coffee-like bitterness rather than hop-like. My only disappointment is that the sweetness from the nose didn't follow in the taste. Honestly, that's only because I have a fondness for cake batter sweetness in beers. Ultimately, this is an enjoyable, drinkable beer with a nice flavor profile. It's well worth a try. (668 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy orange color with a short one finger head that falls apart immediately.

Smell: fruity sweetness, caramel, and some alchohol.

Taste: malt and fruit sweetness abounds, along with some honey, caramel, and alcohol. Bitterness tries to bring it back in check but falls a bit short.

Mouthfeel: medioum bodied. Smooth from start to finish. Long alcohol fueled aftertaste.

Drinkability: a decent beer but alcohol is a bit too up front here. Worth a try. (470 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single bottle into a regular snifter late at night.

A- Curmudgeon is a dark amber color with some brown hints. Not much of a head but some tan foam reaches half an inch than fades. No lacing plus some sediment is seen floating.

S- This old ale has a deep smell of rich sweet malts giving off caramel, plus some burnt sugars. This years version has more of a hop aroma than I remember it, but they fade as this warms. Some oak/vanilla and dark fruit such as plum. A nice smell of raisins.

T- A really nice balance between the sweet malt giving off a bready vibe and dark fruits consisting of mainly dates and raisins. I got some hops on first sips but that faded as I got more into it. The little hint of vanilla is a nice touch. Some alcohol seeps through. Has some vinious hints here and there. Nice.

M- A very sweet and thick oily texture while this is somewhere above medium bodied. A bit of hotness from the alcohol but well contained for a near 10% old ale plus fairly fresh. Very faint bitterness from the hops, nothing major. A good one to let marinate on the tounge.

D- I usually take my time with big abv beers but this went down without a hitch. The alcohol is barely noticable in taste yet the flavors are just so full this becomes too inviting almost. Not my favorite founders beer but a great stab at the old ale category and worthy for repeat visits and slight aging. (1,391 characters)

Photo of billab914
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a murky brown red color with a thin white scattered lacing floating on top of the beer. It left some great spotty lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has some dark fruit, raisin & plum like flavors to it. It has a sweetness to it as well in the nose. Some alcohol comes through as well but not too bad. Pretty nice overall.

The taste has a nice malty, dark fruit characteristic to it. It's moderately sweet and also bready. It finishes with more of the dark fruit flavors as well as a bit of a warming alcohol presence. Very nice and flavorful beer overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Drinkability is good, it was a very nice beer to sip on tonight after dinner. It had some great malty flavors to it and the alcohol wasn't bad at all for the abv%. Very enjoyable beer overall. (890 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled April 8th 2011 off we go.

A very small but creamy light tan creme colored head of maybe one finger off the pour. Body is cloudy... maybe hazy... a classic dark amber color almost looking like the beer is frozen. No lacing at all.

Big malted body, and sweet brown sugar. Seems thick almost like molasses syrup.

Sugar sweet, and thick malt. Finish is an almost barleywine sense of chocolate and heat. Some mild hop bitters mix with the milk chocolate sense making this really interesting in terms of taste and feel.

Overall fairly solid, just out of the bottle the beer looks kind of lifeless. (652 characters)

Photo of yourefragile
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Liquid is a thick, dark tawny/brownish color, very cloudy with some floating particles. Light tan head that has nice retention resulting a in a thin film and a thick ring with a ring of lacing with some long streaks.
S: Predominantly sweet smell with a slight boozy touch. Malt sweetness in the background, and up front, spices, butterscotch, gingerbread, dark fruits. As this warms it pinballs between being very appealing to me and slightly too strong.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly watery in the finish. Taste follows the smell and borders on being slightly too sweet. Flavors of caramelized dark fruit, spices, molasses, sugar, vanilla and a background of alcohol. Also has a slight oaky flavor. (779 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Thanks to lnashsig for this bottle.

Appearance - Deep amber body with little head and only a bit of lacing. Sediment floating about as I look throuh the body. Tough for these types of beers to really look appealing.

Smell - Apples! I smell lots of apples. It kind of reminds me of Short's Good Samaritan. It has an earthy maltiness to the aroma. Not a sweetness that I expect.

Taste - The taste really follows the aroma, but with the addition of hops in the finish. Apple flavor at the start with other malt flavors. A bit of caramel and some brown sugar, but it's definitely an apple fruit flavor I get most. The finish is an odd bitterness that I do not expect from an Old Ale. The hoppiness pushes it towards the barleywine category, but not too much.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation for the style. The bitterness in the finish is the lingering taste. It's also a bit astringent. Not my favorite characteristic.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting from an Old Ale, but not bad. The apples aren't what I want in an Old Ale. I want strong malts, caramel and vanilla. Still, I didn't seem to have any difficulty finding a home for the beer once it got into the glass. (1,211 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single from the Main Party Store in Ann Arbor for $4 and change.

I used to think I wasn't a big old ale fan, but this throws that idea out. This was both drinkable and delicious at over 9% alcohol. This beer reminded me of a lot of the wonderful flavors in a barrel-aged beer (minus the wood) for the smooth mixture of vanilla, spiced rum, and fruity malts. I'd say this one is near the top of the style. A must-try for old ale-lovers. (448 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Founders : Curmudgeon Old Ale

Appearance: A bright orange in color, some small yeast particles in suspension. An agressive snifter pour yields a silky half inch head that provides webbed lacing.

Smell: Bright and fruity. Citrus, pineapple, peach, rum. Very sweet. As it warms, some toffee and butterscotch.

Taste: Caramel malt and piney hops hold strong in the flavor. There is also a complimentary oaky dryness. Malt sweetness quickly gives way to a solid bitterness. Some woodsy notes and tannins are expressive in the flavor profile. Pineapple rum could be a great description, in a beer sense. Vanilla flavors combine with piney hops.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, chewey, carbonation is moderate.

Overall: A nice nightcap, good hop presence, big alcohol, and some fruity notes. Not intended for the meek. (809 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Delicious on-tap. Poured a hazy chestnut with a short, creamy head, and some rough lacing. Smells sweet with some brandied eggnog aromas. Tastes similar. Very long flavors, sweet and creamy and rich with notes of vanilla, nutmeg, cinammon, and cardomom, with a pleasant boozy note. Very creamy and smooth as well as rich in the mouth. Big and delicious. (353 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep amber orange color with a smallish off white head that dissipates quickly to wisps of foam on the surface. The aroma is sugary and malty with a clear bit of ethanol. Brown and caramelized sugars among dark pitted fruit and a solid hit of alcohol with little to no hop nose. The flavor is sweet with the rich dark sugars that were present in the nose. Added bonus is rich milk chocolate melded with dark fruits and again tempered with a hit of ethanol. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Good beer, I could drink it, but I was expecting a bit more from Founders, this one didn't wow me. (661 characters)

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