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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

1,204 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,204
Hads: 4,296
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 187
Gots: 980 | 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: 1,204 | Hads: 4,296
Photo of RexBanner
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Appearance: Silky brown to dark beige in color, very appealing. 2 finger head that dissipate quickly into a nice ring on top of the beer. Almost no carbonation is detected.

Aroma: Caramel sweetness, booze, metallic grains, hops, a fruity note as well, maybe purple figs?

Taste & Mouthfeel: Malty sweetness upfront then the alcohol jumps in to coat your taste buds. Next comes the bite of hops. Silky yet viscous mouthfeel. More hops on the backend. Finishes with a pleasant malt sweetness.

This is one of those beers that you can't help but look at the bottle after your first sip. It isn't as solid as North Coast old stock ale but it sure is a more than suitable alternative. Very much recommended!

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Photo of kkleu357
4/5  rDev +0.5%

From notes on 10/14/13

Tried this at a tasting in Amherst WI. I thought it was pretty good. My mom, who’s not much of a craft beer drinker, really liked it. She must have gone back for 5 or 6 glasses of it. Of course now I see that it is almost 10% ABV so I understand why she was acting a little loopy.

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Photo of bwood06
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%

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

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Photo of FFreak
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into large tulip glass.

This is a beautiful deep copper beer with a very thin and quickly dissipating white head.

The aroma is what I (probably poorly) describe as candied dried fruit. It's a very distinct sweet, fruity aroma that is almost candy like, perhaps marmalade. Very interesting and unique.

The taste follows the nose, with the addition of caramel and butterscotch, and with a unique bitterness - not so much a hoppy bitterness, but slightly earthy and spicy. Again an interesting beer.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth, with little to no carbonation and increasing booze as the beer warms.

Overall, an interesting beer - actually my first 'old ale'. It is a butt kicker in the buzz department - go easy! I enjoyed this and would probably try again.

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Photo of domfreego
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

A great beer that gets better with age, so cellar a few if you can.

Spice, fruit, and oak wash over you palate and very well balanced in this beer.

As other have mentioned the carbonation level is surprising low, the best thing I can compare its level to is that of a firkin aged beer.

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Photo of stephens101
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A wispy tan head covers this brown brew and some orange hues peek through.

Aroma is rich with brown sugar, cherry, and spice. Just as expected, and just right so far.

So flavorful with an abundance of ripened dark fruits, yeast, candy and spice followed by a striking alcohol heat, supporting bitterness and fleeting notes of vinegar in the end.

A potent, full-bodied, creamy sipper for finishing things off (whatever those things may be) on the right note.

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Photo of spoony
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From a 355 ml bottle into a snifter.

A-The beer is a reddish copper hue. There is no head, just a film of nearly-white foam and a spotty collar. The beer is still in appearance with a slight chill haze. Looks good.

S-The aroma is sweet with some apple juice complementing the malty caramel and toffee flavors. I can detect a bit of vanilla as well. Hops provide a bit of citrusy twang, but they are mostly background noise. Alcohol is well hidden here.

T-The taste is also sweet with golden raisin, apple juice, caramel, toffee, and vanilla. There is a bit more leafy, hoppy bite on the middle of my palate than the smell would indicate. The taste is a touch boozy with spicy, warming alcohol providing a nice long finish.

M-The feel is medium in body with a slightly syrupy taste and below-average strength carbonation.

O-This is a very solid old ale. The smell is plain, but the taste is more complex and provides more depth thanks to the more assertive hop flavors and kick of alcohol spice. The sweetness levels are high here, so I don't think I could drink a lot of this, but it makes for a fine dessert-type beer.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a deep reddish caramel with a thin ring of bubbles around the top of the beer. Smells strongly of brown sugar and dried fruits. Lots of fig and date. Flavor is big on brown sugar, dried fruits, cinnamon, vanilla, with a touch of coffee. Carbonation is soft. Body is full. This is delicious and very British.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky bronze color with a modest cap of khaki froth. Malty aroma smells of molasses, caramel, booze, and hint of milk chocolate.

The taste is on par with the aroma, with caramel and molasses up front, warming alcohol, raisins, and earthy, herbal hops. There's also a bit of cough syrup to be found as well. Some wheat/grain husk comes through in the finish. This beer is not short on flavor, that's for sure. Mild carbonation gives it something of a stagnant, oily mouthfeel despite the medium body.

This is the only "old ale" I've ever tried, but as far as I can tell, it's pretty similar to a Scottish ale. If you like sweet, malt-forward beers, this should be enjoyable. That happens to be a little skewed for my tastes, but it's still another engaging offering from Founders nonetheless. I'd be curious to try it with a year or two of age under its belt.

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Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter, bottled on 01/14/15.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep amber with 2 fingers of off-white head.

Smell: Baked bread and oak

Taste: Robust malts with some lingering medicinal notes

Mouthfeel: Full with some warmth from the alcohol

Overall: A nice rendition of an old ale that deserves to be put aside and see how it develops.

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Photo of arizcards
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Total Wine at the end of April for $3.49. Could not determine the bottled date.

Beer poured mahogeny orange with a smallish off white head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is malty sweet, hints of molasses.

Taste was alcohol warming right off the bat, huge malt backbone in which the molasses complements nicely. Enough hopping is present to prevent this from being cloying.

Mouthfeel is big and smooth.

Overall this fits the Old Ale style of brew with the big alcohol bite up front and the big flavors as well. A little mis-cast in the spring release mode but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of zac16125
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: none, must have rubbed off

A: Pours a dark copper, nearly brown with just under 1 fingers width of tan head. Head dissipates down at a moderate rate and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Tart apples, candied sugar, molasses, subtle caramel. Interesting, but not terribly complex.

T: Pretty big sweetness with caramel, candied sugar, and molasses. Some cocoa and oak notes. Subtle bitterness. Taste is more like an old ale than the aroma, and is quite good.

M/D: Medium bodied, a bit thinner than I anticipated. Carbonation on the heavier end. ABV is very well masked and drinkability is good.

O: Good, not great but certainly worth a drink. And with its mass availability its probably something I will visit a couple times a year.

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Photo of danmouer
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Curmudgeon is a beautifully richand balanced example of the old ale/barleywine class of big brews. This is a beer to share with someone special on Christmas Eve. The ony things I feel might improve it a bit would be a touch of Brett and/or a few years of cellar aging.

Sweet, rich, aromatic, hugely malty but balanced by a generous spine of 50 IBUs of hops. I really plan tbo lay several of these down and drag them out in deep winter to warm my soul.

I am not a big fan of this style of beer, but this one is remarkable. Founders has done it right.

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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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Photo of tillmac62
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

BOD 4/13/13. Pours a deep amber with a heavy deep dark ruby hue. Weak head and lacing due to the alcohol content. Heavy nose of dark malt (caramel), molasses and dark fruit sweetness over alcohol with bourbon and oak notes. Light carbonation. Almost full bodied with a nice smooth creamy texture. The complex flavor profile is well balanced. It begins with sweet dark fruit flavors (fig, plum and raisin) which flow into a significant bourbon element. As the bourbon fades, oak and vanilla present themselves over a molasses note. The finish is smooth and leaves you with a light alcohol burn and a touch of hops. This is the Olde Ale standard, IMHO.

BOD 4/13/12. Similar head, but hazy with flocculants. The nose is similar, but quite subdued. Bourbon is the most prevalent while the dark fruits have receded. Same body and carbonation. Like the nose, flavors have also gone downhill. Age has decomplexed the flavor profile. While still outstanding, it just doesn't reach out and grab you. Everything is there, but in a subdued fashion and more of a blended presentation rather than a progression on the palate. On it's own, I would give the aged version a 4.1.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml Bottle from Beers of Europe website:
Deep caramel amber with a thin, 0.5cm foamy head that's slightly off-white with okay retention given the abv. of the beer. It sits as a fine lacing just about covering the surface & there's some sediment at the bottom of the glass.

Strong with lots of sweetness & sugar plus some treacle. Strong caramel malts & oak just about mask the alcohol completely, only a touch comes through. Toffee, dark fruits & earthy hops all make an appearance & the beer is quite complex. Rich smelling & rounded out with some background fruits & hints of vanilla.

Sweet & malty with caramel & toffee coming through alongside sugar & some alcohol that seems a touch stronger than the nose hinted it at. Dark fruits & pleasant oak & vanilla come through with some plum & raisins at the end.

Smooth with a medium to thick body that hints at being creamy. Soft carbonation & hints of alcohol from the start. Very sweet, rich, complex & definitely strong but there is enough going on to help it down easier than expected.

A beer that I really enjoyed and one that I'm glad I let sit for a while before opening up. Despite the strength of the beer it was one that went down pretty well with a great balance between flavours & I could see this being one that I would pick up again in future, assuming of course I can find it easily enough.

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Photo of Roguer
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of Vogie
4.3/5  rDev +8%
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.


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Photo of Modernrickk
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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

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Photo of Franziskaner
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.94/5  rDev +24.1%
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!!

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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 seedyone
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
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.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,204 ratings.