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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: 4,206
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: 4,206
Photo of Badger6
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (683 characters)

Photo of Star80
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (475 characters)

Photo of classixIII
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy dark copper, fair amount of bubbles but little to no head. Sweet molasses and oak definitely come through in the smell and taste. Hit of alcohol and bitterness at the finish. Nice Old Ale! (193 characters)

Photo of boomer31
3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
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 (506 characters)

Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.44/5  rDev +11.8%
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! (497 characters)

Photo of kdb150
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
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. (2,113 characters)

Photo of expatsteve
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (818 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Look: Dark ruby amber with big fluffy off-white head that takes some times to settle.
Smell: Definitely needs to warm up to pick up on the subtle aromas here. Caramel malt, molassas and a smidge of fruity alcohol...
Taste: I'm finding it hard to describe the taste. Partly its because it is so seamless - you can't tell where one fllavor ends and the next begins - but also it's kind of muted. Its this smooth sweetness that comes and goes, with a gentle afterglow of herbal hops. I imagine part of this is the barrel-aging. The alcohol is somewhere in there, obviously, but it isn't too obvious below cellar temps.
Feel: Medium body, very smooth slightly syrupy mouthfeel with subdued carbonation thanks to the high alcohol.

Overall: The Curmudgeon is mysterious in the way it keeps me coming back and trying to understand it. It is big, yet mellow. Strong, yet subtle and thin in a way. It definitely goes against Founders' reputation as makers of brash beers. All in all, though, it's hard to feel like I'm not missing something. I finish it feeling vaguely unsatisfied. Maybe it's the style. For malty goodness I have to admit I would rather crack open a Dirty Bastard. (1,181 characters)

Photo of bwood06
4.05/5  rDev +2%

A - deep amber in color. Slightly hazy with a very thin white head. Head dissipates rather quickly. 3.75/5

S - Sweet as well as toasty malt. Slight fruity smell reminding me of raisins and dates. No real hop profile to be seen here. 4/5

T - Very fruity as well as sweet malt. Roast malt flavors. Hops show up on back end with just a slight bitterness. Somewhat earthy. Alcohol content shows up at end with slight warming. Hints of caramel, vanilla, and oak. 4.25/5

M - Chewy and viscous. Coats tongue nicely. 4/5

O - Very enjoyable beer. Fairly complex with flavors standing out nicely. Some nice minor flavor undertones that make for a very nice drinking experience. 4.25/5 (695 characters)

Photo of hustlemuscle
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (521 characters)

Photo of itsscience
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (483 characters)

Photo of BZero007
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of BruceBruce
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (805 characters)

Photo of Justin_Neff
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
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. (1,166 characters)

Photo of aggiearcher13
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%
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. (323 characters)

Photo of Mosley1212
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (926 characters)

Photo of jim102864
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
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 (715 characters)

Photo of paxchristi
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
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! (1,312 characters)

Photo of danielocean03
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
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. (717 characters)

Photo of Vierenner
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
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! (460 characters)

Photo of slym
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
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! (604 characters)

Photo of tekstr1der
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It seems this thing needs to mellow while sitting for a while. As served, it was a murky light brown with quickly dissipating off-white foam. Smells of cooked sugar, booze, and wood. Flavors are too varied. Some sweet molasses with alcohol and oak. Slightly rough finish/linger of woodiness. The first disappointment I've had from Founders. Perhaps expectations are high here. (376 characters)

Photo of semibaked
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Well this is my first review of a beer and I am sure it won't be very good. :)

A - Maroonish Brown color and very little head

S - Smells a little like floor cleaner with light grape juice

T - Tastes much better than it smells, good raisin and caramel flavors, there is kind of a sharp funky taste that is a little off putting though.

M - Very good, smooth and creamy

D - Glad I only bought a single, definitely something I am thankful for trying but certainly 1 will be enough for me. (489 characters)

Photo of frankiepop
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer does not live up to the hype that it lays out in my opinion. So start at the beginning:

Looks: Kinda bland actually. Pretty reddish tan. Below ave head

Smell: Again a little flat and unexciting. I get hints of a little oak, smidgeon of bourbon and maybe the molasses.

Flavors: Again a nice mild oak and a hint of bourbon. I do taste a molasses flavor but its very feint though a little underwhelming. I prefer something more like the Scottish Traquair House Ale, which provides more oak and sweetness and the bourbon flavors remain only a background hint.

I also found this beer to be a bit hot. Lotsa carbonation and alcohol burn going down so I marked down the feel here.

So what goes well with this beer? Well maybe the music curmudgeon of all time. That is right. jazz saxophone player son of a bitch Phil 'fuck you' Woods. I recommend an illegal download of his "Live at the Showboat" or a good version of his version of the tune 'Freedom Jazz Dance' from the lp "Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series" (1,015 characters)

Photo of froggyfrog
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A damn ambrosial old ale...

This gem pours from a dust-covered bottle plucked from the depths of this reviewer's cellar. The twist-off cap pops off with a low hiss under the weight of a BA-branded opener.

Cloudy, make that chunky, brackish brown liquid fills the glass. Gold-yellow swirls edge the deeper brown of the depths. A scummy tannish head proves tough enough to remain present to the end.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the abused-toilet-bowl-look of this beer in a glass, is the distinctive and entirely enticing smell. A lively bouquet of dried fruits, dates and figs is followed closely by a strong spicy alcohol nose and loads and loads of caramel and brown sugar. The intricate aroma also showcases leather and honey, cinnamon and toasted nuts.

Fortunately for those finding themselves quaffing this treat - the flavor delivers on the promises of the nose. Served at cellar temperature, as this bottle was, the flavors come off as caramel-covered raisin and honey-roasted nuts with strong undertones of soft- dried apples and plums.

The beer hits the tongue with a cooling wetness and spreads through the mouth warming with its spicy alcohol as it passes. This rather unique mouthfeel is complex without being sweet, heavy or cloying. There is a subtle bitterness in the finish.

I expected this to be good, yet it was much better than I had hoped. It really shines as a stellar old ale/ English-style barleywine. Don't miss this one. (1,451 characters)

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