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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,196 | Hads: 4,246
Photo of SummitVA
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

101 degrees today in the D.C. area, but season be damned--I'm opening an old ale.

A - Bottle opens with a low hiss. Hazy ruby brown pour with very little carbonation.

S - Burnt brown sugar; sweet caramel; molasses; spicy woody scent, suggesting faint smoke; tobacco; plenty of sweet malt as well.

T - Brown sugar sweetness dominates, with molasses and burnt sugars and tobacco in the finish. Herbal bitterness compliments the sweet components nicely; in fact, it is more bitter than I anticipated. As the glass warms, this herbal character becomes more tannic, lending a black tea-like flavor. Some astringency really gives it a very dry finish.

M - Light side of medium. Goes down really easy for a nearly 10% brew.

O - Really happy to finally score a 4-pack of this. Nose promises a much more complex beer, and I feel like the body is a bit thin, even when considering the style. I'm not a huge fan of the herbal hop character here, but all this being said, I still think this is a really solid beer, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this ages. Can imagine it will be divine when the hops fall off and with a little oxidation sweetening it up all the more. Enjoy!

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Photo of bret27
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle in a trade several months back. I think it was from GCurlow but if someone reads this and it's wrong shoot me a BM for correction.

S: It smells so... old! It's just too... old!
Ok, first there is a faint whiff of corn, which dissapeared quickly. Then sweet dark fruits dominate. Pruiny, raisiny, vanilla, bread. booze.

A: Dark orange, almost no head at all. What little there is does make a nice lace though.

T: Maple syrupy, bready, vanilla, really sweet, perhaps a bit too sweet. Not sure if it was oak aged, but it kind of tastes like a bit of oak or age. Booze isn't all that overpowering, more of a warming sensation from the tip of the tongue to the top of the cardiac sphincter.

M/D: Fairly thick and syrupy. Pretty drinkable, but not for sissies. More for the curmudgeon type.

Overall: Complex + pretty tasty. Probably not for everyone, but a good sipper. Not an A+, but not a D- either by any means. (By the way the picture of the bottle on this site has a lovely background, it really brings out the grizzled old man on the bottle)

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Photo of mpedara429
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured out a copper color with one finger of a orangy tan head. Not much lacing or retention to speak of.

S: A very sweet caramel and oak aged smell. There are also some fruity notes like raisins and over-ripened strawberries.

T: Very much like the smell, but not as sweet and potent. There is a nice earthy hoppiness balancing out the immense sweetness that could've been imagined by the smell. There is a fair amount of booziness.

M: Medium, sticky body that is a bit creamy. Medium-light carbonation. Surprisingly lighter and smoother than expected.

O: Better than some of the other Old Ales I've had. I like the lack of sweetness in the taste of Carmudgeon. Old Ales tend to be very sweet for me, but this one had a nice balance to it. Normally, I'd be one and done with an Old Ale, but I could see myself wanting a couple of these in a session.

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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 natasharai
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured vigorously to achieve a very small tan creamy head that dissipated leaving some lacing at the top of my glass. The beer is pretty clear with a reddish orange brown color and very small particles floating in the glass.

Smell: Very sweet, strong nutty roasted malt, nice caramel/toasted marshmallow sweet aroma, sappy pine, sweet fruit like pears and apples. Nice yeasty biscuit toward the end.

Taste: Very sweet, caramel malt, roasted nuts, roasted marshmallow, some pine bitterness, no alcohol flavor at all.

Mouthfeel: Thick body, quite syrupy, nice amount of carbonation, slight hop tingle, very small touch of dry feeling, then leaves mouth really sticky.

Overall: good drinkability, especially considering the ABV. Awfully sweet but still good, the sweetness has a nice roasty/toasty component which makes it more interesting.

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Photo of Badger6
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 caramel color, small head that dissipates fast. Little visible carbonation. Minimal lacing.

S: Abundant dark notes: molasses, plums, raisins, significant candied sugar.

T: The flavor closely follows the nose. Sweet with hugely present plum, raisin, molasses, candied sugar flavors. Slightly boozy, but not overwhelming.

M: Heavy body, thick on the palate. Slightly carbonated, fades fast. Easy to drink.

O: Excellent example of the style. Unlike many, this is very drinkable, and pleasant, right from the start. Definitely will go in the category to have again. 4s across the board. Well done, thanks of brewing this one for us.

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Photo of Star80
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours out a dark ruby red with minimal head into a snifter.

S - Smell is of candied fruits, some toffee, vanilla, and some oak.

T - Taste is rich malts, oak, vanilla, toffee and some vague puckering from the hops.

M - Mouthfeel is dense, yet smooth.

O - Overall a nice old ale with an added oak treatment that just adds the icing on the cake as far as complexity goes and it just gets better as it warms in the glass. A perfect lingering winter/spring evening sipper.

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Photo of boomer31
3.76/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

A - Burnt orange transparent with thin white head that briefly sticks to glass

S - Sweet and sugary caramel malts

T - The malt is very sweet. Sugar and a touch of toffee flavor. No bitterness at all. Perhaps some wood here

M - Thin and soft carbonation. The sugary malt sticks to your mouth. Not overwhelminly sweet but very close

D - Very sweet and sugary. A sipper for sure.

Overall this is an interesting beer. It reminds me of a sweet English B-wine after a year or so in the bottle

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark orange ruby color with almost no head.

Smells like wood, raisins, dark fruits, and some booze.

If this is chilled, the flavors are muted to raisins and malt. As it warms, figs, oak, maple, dates, graham cracker, caramel, candy, and more. The complexity takes on a life of its own.

The beer goes down really smooth with just slight booze on the back end. It's thick and creamy.

Overall this beer is wonderful: I love the sweetness it brings on. I'm going to age one and check in in a year!

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Photo of kdb150
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip at ~60 degrees F.

A - pours a nice dark reddish-orangish-purplish color with about a finger of off-white head that sticks around for a little while. I've tried this a few times and sometimes there is a lot of sediment, but this one poured crystal-clear. A very attractive beer, though lacing is minimal.

S - reminiscent of a Belgian quad, with lots of dark fruit, along with a bit of candi sweetness. No real oak presence here despite the fact that it claims to be oak-aged. Smells pretty good.

T - I think maybe this is just my palate, but this beer simply falls apart in the taste category, which is a shame because the presentation is very well done in every other aspect. Dark fruits, predominately plum and fig flavors, come through big-time. On the back end there is a bit of the toffee and caramel sweetness, which is nicely balanced and not real cloying. Unfortunately there is something else in this beer that I find very off-putting. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but there is a very stong, pungent, almost metallic flavor here in the middle, and even with 8 months of age it has not diminished at all. Coincidentally, I find the same off-putting flavor in St. Bernardus Abt. 12, so I'm willing to chalk it up to my own sensitivities, rather than something wrong with the beer, to explain why I don't like it. Another downside is that I also detect very little oak, if any.

M - this is big and slick, but pleasantly so. The finish lingers, and the pungent flavor is nowhere to be found. The aftertaste is delightful, actually, much more so than the actual taste I'm afraid. Dead on for the style and size of this beer, and really quite nice.

O - I drainpour this every time, but it's a well-made beer that just doesn't fit my palate. Worth trying as it is a good overall experience, and if you don't have the same reaction to the taste, I suspect you would find this beer to be quite enjoyable. Alas, I can only actually score it based on my own taste, but I think most people would not have the same reaction to the taste as I do.

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

Appearance: Murky red brown color. Pours a 1/2 inch head with heavy cover and lacing. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Smells like a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread, with toffee, raisins and a hint of booze. Some nice chocolate and cocoa developments as it warms.

Taste: Smooth chocolate, cocoa and honey, with a nice hops/booze finish. A little plum following an upfront breadiness. Nice raisins in the finish. Nice balance complements grainy front and middle palates. A little pine and juniper in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation makes for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that balances the flavors of the beer. Nice bitterness in the aftertaste

Drinkability: Nice, rich and boozy, with great malts and a nice biting finish. Definitely a beer that I'll come back to, particularly as the weather turns colder.

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Photo of stompilator
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip.

A - Poured a deep, opaque red, thin, crispy head.

S - Oak, booze, a little bit of esters, and a wee bit of hops.

T - The oak flavor is definitely dominant, especially up front. Some plummy, berry-esque esters follow along with the thick sweetness from the molasses. Buttery, bready notes come from the malt near the end, with some earthy hops and residual boozinessrounding out the finish.

M - Medium-bodied, easy carbonation.

O - Tons of layers to this particular brew, very sweet in so many ways.

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

Orange brown, and despite its dark opacity, I could still see lighter floaties suspended in the murk. The head wasn't much to speak of after a few minutes.

Wild, wild stuff. Smells like murky candy, whatever that means. But that is what popped into my head, and it seems fitting. Like camp cotton candy.

You can taste the suger before the beer even hits your lips. Thick and fruity, it is improving my mood by the sip.

A sipper fo' sho' because it is so thick and slightly syrupy. Would probably age wonderfully.

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Photo of itsscience
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in appearance with some light getting in around the edges. Less than a finger of head even with a vigorous pour, and it fades rather quickly. The nose is rather imposing with molasses, sweet malt, burnt sugar, coconut, toasted oats, and oak. The same profile comes out in the taste along with some raisin and fruity esters. It's reminiscent of a Belgian dubbel but overly boozy. Not much of a hop presence here: this is all malt. Carbonation is low and the body is medium.

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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 BZero007
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack from Rick's Wine and Gourmet.

I have been going through a Old Ale withdrawl phase, and picked this 4 pack up with joy.
Pours a great looking Amber brown color with a pretty tan head forming, leaving lace behind. Aroma was of sweet malts with a light caramel and heat. Taste was interesting for a old Ale as I lean more towards malt base for this style. This old ale was good though I felt the malt didnt jump out and the carbonation was a bit to much. The brew taste too crisp for this stle to me. Possibly with some age the malt may jump out ahead. Aging the last 3 brews to see how she does.

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Photo of BruceBruce
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Great color of Raspberry Brown with no head at all, a very thin line and no lacing.

S: I really cant get much of a scent off of this, may be allergies today, but all I can get is a bit of sweet molasses, alcohol.

T: Sweet first, then the back edges of my tongue taste the alcohol. There is a bit of molasses and a tiny bit of oak, I thought there would be more of it.

M: A bit thicker then I expected but very good.

O: The first time I had this beer it was side by side with Better Half, don't do that. It would have been all 3.5 until I tried it by itself and cold to warm. This is a good beer, I have gotten many now and could drink them year round. I love it, great beer overall. Had to edit this, as it warms up it is way better, room temp you get way more flavor out of this very complex beer.

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Photo of Justin_Neff
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Bottle (Denotes brewed with molasses and aged in Oak, where other years did not say this on the bottle) Poured from a bottle into a 50W tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep copper color, that almost appears amber when held to the light. At onset there appears to be very little head and then a billowing, off-white head rushes up quickly and clings to the side of the glass, eventually leaving a nice frothy, latte-like rim around the top.

S: Strong caramel wofts. Butterscotch, malts, vanilla, some oakiness, and molasses shines well. The smell is extremely complex.

T: Boozy. The caramel and molasses character are very present. Some dark fruit sweetness, balanced with some vanilla. Strong malt character and heavy oakiness to also balance out the sweetness.

M: Medium-Full body, but definitely closer to the full body. Creamy. Boozy, but smooth. Dangerous.

O: This one tastes a little different with every drink. Great complexity, but not all over the place. The balance of sweet, but not being overly sweet with some bitterness and the oak character was done really well. Glad I have a couple to age as well - I'm interested to see what happens with some age.

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Photo of Mosley1212
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Distillery in Savannah, GA on my way back from a wedding this weekend (congrats, Kris!). Poured into a Founders snifter.

A--Light golden brown color. No head at all. Had lots of yeasty-looking floaties in the beer. It allowed a lot of light into it.

S--Warm smell of caramel and brown sugar. Then there was an earthy quality to it that had a slight leather smell. It also had a dark fruits scent (plums, raisins, dates).

T--Followed the nose. It had caramel and brown sugar up front that was a very pleasant sweet. Then the earthy flavor of leather came through. It finished with a bit of booze and the dark fruits.

M--It had a slightly watery feel to it. The booze was present toward the end and lingered for a bit as well.

O--This was a fantastic brew. It didn't taste much like an old ale to me, though. It tasted like a perfectly aged barleywine. I would go back to this beer again if I come across it.

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Photo of jim102864
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Part of a trade with Hoppymeal. Cloudy, burnt orange appearance in my Chimay goblet. I poured a little fast which mixed in some yeast, not that I mind it. It's 9.8 abv in a small 12 0z bottle.

Not much of anything in the nose but what a buttery, semi-sweet flavor with a slight alcohol burn in the finish. It takes a while but a butterscotch nose appears as it warms. I like this. Slight butterscotch and vanilla and while the hops are muted, they add a tangy bitterness still. Creamy and smooth mouthfeel.

This could be a session beer if you've got nowhere to go and yer UConn Huskies or Red Sox are one the plasma. A real smooth finish yet well balanced and flavorful. A worthy brew that I hope to score again

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

Appearance: Hazy, medium to darkish orange to red colors. 1/2" white bubbly head that settles in a minute or so. High alcohol and barrel-aged so you can expect this with the head. Totally classic.

Nose: Malt bomb! No hop characters whatsoever in the nose. Molasses, oak, brown sugar, maybe some figs and semidark fruits, and perhaps the slightest hint of vanilla on the end. The oak gets bigger on the end as it warms. Warming alcohol deep in the sinuses. Very very good.

Mouth: Nose justifies the mouth, but is perhaps a bit bigger in the mouth than the nose. HUGE MALTS! Quite possibly the maltiest beer i've had to date. Caramel, toffee, and maybe the slightest hint of hop bitterness and then its gone. Thick in the mouth but no where near sticky. Very pungent and very strong, and yet very well blended. in many ways, it reminds me alot of the Dirty Bastard but with sweeter malts, and an overall bigger malt bill in general. And it is certainly much more powerful. Very Very good, and very VErY complex. Unbelievably complex in fact!

Overall: Not a beginners brew. This is definitely a cult beer, but Old Ales generally are a cult style. This is one worth seeking out, but you must prepare yourself for it. A little age does this one better justice. 100%, absolutely mastercraft, but this beer is HUGE!

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Photo of danielocean03
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a thick, cloudy auburn brown with little or no head to speak of, leaves the faintest little beige ring of sticky lace. Moderate sediment floats about, can be seen with a reddish hue when held to the light. Smells deeply of sweet malt,grain, dark ripened fruits, earthen notes, walnuts. Taste is also sweet and malty, resinous woodiness and nutty. Figs and dates, along with brown sugary alcohol flavor. Leaves a slightly drying aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full bodied with very low levels of carbonation, viscous, syrupy like smoothness. Drinkability is decent, a little too sweet all around, nice level of complexity pairs with a hard to detect 9.3% abv. Not a bad old ale, but I've had better. Recommend trying.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice. As I continue to explore sweeter beers, I stumbled across this one perusing other reviews. My focus has been stouts/porters, trying to find best of breed in this category (in my opinion!). This one came to my attention based upon reviews I read. Perhaps I just stumbled on a unique Old Ale ... but this is right up may alley. Has all the sweetness I like, minus the hop bite of course. Guess I need to expand from stouts/porters into a new category!

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Photo of dmgallag
4.82/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - dark ale with good lacing that slides down the glass.

S - nice sweet molasses smell. Inviting, smells like a dessert beer.

T - not complicated. Very subtle...you get the hints of oak and molasses in perfect harmony. Neither overpowers the other. Very drinkable and easy going for my palate. This guy could get me in trouble.

M - velvety smooth. Really good.

O - some might knock it because of its lack of complexity....but that is exactly what I like about it. A sweet ale that tastes better as it warms to room temp... I'm sold

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Photo of slym
4.55/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer... this is something special. Just cracking the bottle, I could sense fruits, malt, & hops. Nose was the same on the pour, wth a finger-width head that dissipated to a thin film after a minute or so. The first sip... it was like Bacchus poured his best beer right in my mouth himself. The first thing that hit me was dark fruits, fig & plum and dark berry. Then, vanilla and molasses rush up on the palate, with the whole thing finishing with both malty sweetness and a slight hoppy bite.

This beer is amazing... truly a well-crafted and nicely balanced (for a sweeter beer) beer.

A must-buy!

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