Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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: 4,207
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 177
Gots: 945 | 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: 4,207
Photo of Roguer
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pre-aged 2+ years; thanks store!

Or perhaps not...

Very murky, dark caramel appearance. Some floaties, virtually no head...although a little fizz did appear eventually.

Strong caramel, oak, and vanilla aroma. I don't think this is oak-aged, but the aroma is similar, regardless.

Sweet, strong, and boozy. Huge hints of caramel and toffee, and more mellow lines of oak and vanilla. Definitely boozy.

If this beer has suffered, mouthfeel - along with appearance - is where it shows. It's mostly flat, with little liveliness or sting. Pretty boozy, too.

Despite the age and flatness, this is a pretty damn tasty beer! I can imagine what it's like when it's on and dialed in. I may not be particularly impressed this time around, but I'm impressed enough that I will certainly try it again. (792 characters)

Photo of Vogie
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice amber color with a thin white head that quickly dissipates leaving some lacing around the edges of the glass. Smell is sweet and complex. I am getting notes of brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, a slight hint of molasses, and oak rich malts. Taste is very smooth with an explosion of malt, figs, dark fruit, and a warm alcohol finish. Hops are non-existent but there is some lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is very balanced and heavy.

Overall this is another outstanding beer from Founders. Very complex and rich with new flavors coming through in each sip. I couldn't see myself having more than one and that's ok. At 9.8% this baby has all you need. Full of flavor and satisfaction. I see this beer better suited for a seasoned craft beer drinker. The complexity of this brew might be a bit much for a newbie.

Cheers! (834 characters)

Photo of Modernrickk
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: looks outstanding. Has a red hue with a bright off white head that sits on top for a whole and leaves a bit of lacing on the way down. The red color is so inviting!

Smell: malty and a bit sweet. Syrupy smell of molasses going on here.

Taste: barrel flavor is awesome and not too boozy. Hop bitterness in the short aftertaste but malty up front. A bit sweet like sugar balanced by okay flavors

Mouthfeel: low level of carbonation with a medium body. Never too overwhelming. 9.8 abv Goes down easy here.

Overall this beer rocks just another solid offering by Founders. I can see myself seeking this out again. I was really impressed by the colors of this brew - awesome (685 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice mahogany brown color with a moderate haze. A very faint trace of foam is only present around the rim of the glass. A faint bit of Brussels malt is present. Strong aroma of light malt is present to the point of a gentle sweetness. The taste is an assault of light malt with a strong sweet component. There's a thick,sticky mouthfeel. If you like plenty of malt,this is up your alley. (387 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.94/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The liquid is a transparent mahogany with some suspended sediment and a slow stream of bubbles rising up. The pour kicks up a modest khaki head that dissipates to a film with a ring around the surface quickly.

Aroma is really strong - you can almost smell it from across the room! Sweet caramel, brown sugar, raisins, dates, and a bit of alcohol heat. Would make a wonderful bread pudding.

Taste follows the nose, with a bit more alcohol presence. Starts out with caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, and dark fruit. Some oakiness comes in after a second, along with a bigger alcohol burn and an ever-so-slight bite of hop bitterness to keep it from being too cloying. The finish is clean, with a tightrope-like balance of sweet and bitter, and then the aftertaste is creamy caramel again. Not incredibly complex, but perfectly put-together. The sweetness, alcohol, and bitterness are all calibrated to precise levels to complement each other perfectly.

Mouthfeel is nicely thick and creamy without being syrupy. There's some nice crisp carbonation that takes a second to kick in, giving your tongue a second to luxuriate in the thick body before coming in to temper it. It's somehow perfectly timed with the flavor progression - before the carbonation kicks in you're focusing on the caramel and vanilla, then the prickliness comes in at the exact same time as the alcohol and hops to dial back the sweetness.

Overall, one of my favorite beers from Founder's, or any beer period. It's a great dessert beer for when you don't want a BA stout - it treads the same waters, but is much less heavy. It kind of reminds me of what a super-easy-drinking bourbon would be like, with the caramel, oakiness, and robust alcohol presence. Such an incredible beer!! (1,774 characters)

Photo of dmgallag
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
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 (536 characters)

Photo of seedyone
2.8/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

05/19/14 From bottle. As I'm on a barrel aged kick lately, no stone shall go unturned. Here is a fine example of how pervasive oaking can be..until, of course it meets something just as persuasive as the molasses used here. Not a lot on the nose & no head to speak of so that leaves the battle on the tongue between the oak & the treacle. Each as it's moment but neither comes out a winner. I enjoyed it but could not get past the novelty effect. I suspect a draft portion...or better yet, a nitro pour could lift this to another level. (536 characters)

Photo of dbl_delta
4.52/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Liked this from the bottle; love this on tap (Holy Hound Taproom, York PA into snifter). Pours a gorgeous clear, deep amber with a modest light tan head. Rich, full-bodied, sweet, chewy but not syrupy - a little bitterness but predominantly molasses. Alcohol definitely makes its presence known, but complements the flavors rather than detracting from them. Nice sweet aftertaste. One of my top ten beers of ANY style. (423 characters)

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy copper color with a tight, tan head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of dark fruits with a touch of caramel and earthy notes.

Tastes of the fairly sweet dark fruits along with some oak and earthiness. Notes of figs and raisins lead off backed by a brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Some deeper notes of chocolate come through along with a bit of molasses. Oak notes come next with wood and a bit of vanilla. Earthy notes come to round out the sweet notes and add depth. Finishes a little hot.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is tasty and certainly fits in with the rest of the beers from this style. (670 characters)

Photo of dgilks
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany-red colour. Big, creamy, light tan head. Fair head retention and nice lacing.

Big melanoidin malt aroma. Toffee. Earthy hops and bitterness. Pretty good.

Sweet malt with a big, nutty, fruity character. Plenty of earthiness. Touches of bitterness. Really sweet but still balanced and interesting.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

Solid beer. Great flavour and well balanced. Really like this. (429 characters)

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A fantastic old ale. The appearance was very dark brown with a sticky head that lasted quite a while during drinking. The smell had a lot of wood and malt in it. The taste was great with a lot of the wood giving a very mellow flavor which then opened up to a very nutty flavor which I thought was a nice finish to the beer. The mouthfeel was a bit thin, but overall I absolutely loved the beer and would highly recommend. (421 characters)

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A clear orange-red body showing ample carbonation fueling a thick and lacy off-white head.

Rich sweet aroma going on. Vanilla oakiness, caramel, toffee, raisins.

Those big malt characters from the nose come along in the flavor with big sweetness and caramel/toffee. Lots of oak and vanilla. The alcohol heat is present and warming.

Big smooth body helped along by the hefty carbonation. (391 characters)

Photo of BeerDreadz
3.34/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pour in to a pint glass out of a 12 onz bottle.

Dark Caramel color with very little foam.

High alcohol level smell.

Caramel, milk chocolate like, nice after taste.

Feels kind of weird on the mouth, kind of carbonated with a very nice aftertaste.

I believe this beer is kind of over-rated . Not what i expected. (315 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 4/19/12.

This pours a ruddy copper the color of an old tarnished penny with light large bubbling atop.

As it warms there's an aroma of toffee, candied orange, a hint of tobacco and leather, and hop aroma. It’s died down after 2 years but there's still a bit of a pronounced bitterness on the palate. I taste candied orange, tobacco, malty caramel and toffee, and a hint of something nutty on the finish. Tasty. (428 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Hotel glass
From: Whole Foods in Tempe, Ariz.
Price: $2.59
Purchased: May 15, 2014
Consumed: May 16, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a caramel, amber clear color with about one finger of bubbly, off-white head. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Average foamy layered lacing along the sides of the glass. Below average-to-poor retention on the top of the glass.

Had to work for the smell, but got apple juice, dark apple, green grapes, fruity aromas, floral notes and some sugary honey.

Tasted much, much better than the smell and a lot different. Got oak, molasses, vanilla, dark apple, fruity notes, light butterscotch, booziness and still some sweet honey.

Medium body. Oily-to-thin texture. Soft carbonation. Long, boozier finish.

This beer was just OK. I was hoping for more, but it was missing something. Can’t quite put my finger on what. (878 characters)

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

2014 vintage, poured into a snifter

A- pours a clear deep amber color with bright ruby hues, small fizzy white head quickly dissipates completely, leaving no lace behind

S- sweet molasses up front mixes with fruity notes of raisin & cherry, brown sugar and licorice kick in, before finishing with light oaky aromas with lots of alcohol

T- the molasses gives a big sweetness up front that mimics flavors of caramelized brown sugar, raisin and fig fruity flavors kick in mid-palate, more sweetness with lots of alcohol and an odd medicinal bitterness on the finish

M- medium body and carbonation lead to a foamy mouthfeel with with a big alcohol burn on a slightly sweet finish

O- this one is still way too hot, I'll be putting away the other bottles I have for at least a year or two and revisit. But for the time being, the flavors just haven't meshed yet (861 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear, deep red amber with a khaki colored finger's worth of head. Fair retention, resulting in a broken layer of surface suds. Lacing is small and spotty, at best.

Smell - Molasses sweetness sticks out like a sore thumb. Caramel and oak woodiness are quite noticeable as well.

Taste - Follows the nose. Molasses and touches of raisin with light caramel off-set by some toasted malt and oak notes. Finishes on the sweeter side, with just a touch of waxy bitterness and astringency.

Mouthfeel - Close to full in body with low carbonation and a light stickiness. Smooth and stupid drinkable at 9.8% ABV.

Overall - Pretty delicious; wish I had more than just this one 12oz bottle. I can imagine it pairing well with a blue cheese burger and steak fries. Hmm... that sounds good. Anyone up for a burger joint? (841 characters)

Photo of Beastcpa
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tastes exactly like Hell on Wood with a bit of sugar. Very good barleywine style ale masquerading as an old ale. Flavor that changes as it gets warmer. Goes well with chicken and fish.

Great picture on the bottle that conveys the classic taste if an old ale with molasses. (273 characters)

Photo of leitmotif
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Man, this looks awesome. It's copper and dark and classy.
For it to be perfect, i would have wanted a bit of large sticky head... But, nevermind.

Smells of apricots, grapes and raisins. Warm touch of alcohol.

The hops kick in smooth from the first sip.

You still get brown sugar notes, grassy and fruity accents. Apricots and grapes present. Wood feel.

Unfortunately the high 9.8% ABV kills every flavor that you might want to follow. The experience ends pretty darn fast.

Too bad.
This could have been a really great one. (533 characters)

Photo of Michands
2.3/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- Common, I really never judge on appearance.

S- Negativity bitterness of oak flavor

T- Awry for old ale and oak aged. Too bland.

M- Nothing much exciting. Nearly none flavor except flavor of oak

O- Wouldn't recommend. So bland. Except high ABV which is benefit for NASCAR redneck fans. (292 characters)

Photo of silverking
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- hazy copper with a thin, light tan head. Nice lacing, the head fades quickly to a thin, spotty cap of foam.

S- oak and brown sugar, dates, dark rum.

T- holy oak! Really really oaky, wow. After that fades, I'm left with a melange of rum and dried fruits. I get some molasses in the finish, but the sweetness is balanced out by a subtle hop bitterness.

M- medium bodied, creamy, low carbonation.

O- wow, oak. It's a pretty good beer. I could do with a little less oak though. (480 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Hazy orange-brown with short white head, with lacing.

S - Wood, alcohol, caramel, toffee, molasses, including a touch of sulfur.

T - Follows the nose, with a strong oak hit, and foundational sweetness, burnt sugar elements, a touch of smokiness. Close returns the wood elements, and a powerful alcohol hit.

M - A bit of buttery slickness, with alcohol warming. Prickly close.

O - There are powerful and interesting elements, but ultimately, the feel and harsh alcohol taste in the close detract. (505 characters)

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

Odd. This beer is a very dark ruby red. It looks like burnt sugar. There is almost no carbonation at all. It smells like old wood, probably aged in barrels, and like wine and fruits. Taste not like a beer in the traditional sense. Very flat and without fizz. It feels like drinking a fortified wine. Interesting to say the least. If Old Ale was not on the description, I would have dismissed it. (395 characters)

Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice beautiful reddish amber with a nice head that quickly dissipates. Not much aroma. First sip is not much sweetness but you can definitely taste the oak barrel and finishes with a strong alcohol kick. Was looking for more maple goodness. As you drink more and the beer warms up, the maple and molasses start to come through. A very nice beer. Starts becoming like a fine cognac. Be careful as that almost 10% will kick you real quick. (445 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on May 8, 2014.

The pour is a handsome looking copper to dark amber or more akin to mahogany with a modest, long lasting off-white head. A tad foggy.

The aroma is generally subtle or muted but I do pick up a nice character of roasted caramel malts, oak, molasses, and only a hint of booze, which I thought might be more predominant for a 9.8% fresh old ale.

Medium to full body but also smooth.

The taste is what makes it all worthwhile as the molasses and caramel malts are voracious in their presentation with only a vague alcohol burn. You would get more booze in a malt liquor. Mildly bitter finish. Wonderfully drinkable for what it is. (682 characters)

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