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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: 186
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 kkipple
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I dumped this into my snifter and was... uh, rewarded with a languid, billowy and sticky tan head that rose majestically atop this thick lookin' brew. Curmudgeon is a dirty rust-amber color with a ton of sediment suspended in the mix. Looks like something illiterate Cape Cod fishermen would drink out of lead cups to stave off pneumonia. I dunno. It's ugly, but somehow commands respect.

Not quite sure where to start on the nose here... let it warm, first off. A lot of subtle malt nuance going on here... sweet and smooth caramel notes, a hint of nut, and a VERY reserved juniper-pine hop note that reminds me of good Dutch gin. There's something woody and vanilla here, but it again is distant and quiet. The alcohol warmth is detectable but reserved for a 9% brew. A touch of lime citrus and oxidized booze (sherry) blend into the mix, and the result is a super smooth, old-tasting... old ale. Huh. I am really enjoying smelling this!

The flavor is likewise reserved and ultra-smooth. Big toasted grain-sugar malt notes are blended with smooth sherry, vanilla, grape tannins and spruce into a deliciously smooth and whiskey-like brew. Yes, I know there is no bourbon here, but it brings to mind some of the best small batch spirits I've had. This is what your crotchety, war-vet uncle wouldn't let you have as a kid. It is an adult beverage in every sense of the word. Old and rewarding, but it takes time.

The mouthfeel is superlative. Smooth, sticky and very lightly carbonated; this beer practically glides down your throat. Once more, this tastes like it has 5 years on it. The finish is brown-sugar sweet with sherry and just enough pine hop bitter to balance. Lingering, pleasing and smooth.

Curmudgeon is a beer to sip and savor. A wonderful nightcap, Founders has taken the old ale to dizzying heights. This is one of the best I've had. On those cold winter nights in front of a fire when you reflect on your life's failures, Curmudgeon will be right there with you, glaring and mumbling and somehow making everything seem a little bit better. Highly recommended.

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Photo of notafood
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown, thin off-white head with slight lacing.

A very complex nose. Sweet and malty, very fruity, with a caramel molasses feel. A perfume-ish sweetness on this one, vanilla probably. The alcohol, while I couldn't really smell it per se, it was detectable, it warmed my nose a bit. The thing is, everything blends so well. Smells like a really well made porter.

Rich malty sweetness with a bitter oaky finish. Kind of reminds me of the Podge Belgian Imperial Stout, which remind me of a stout/barleywine. Pretty dynamite stuff.

MF is very full, very heavy, a little bit sticky.

Drinkability - A great slow paced beer. Maybe not for everyone (my girlfriend - "That's, um, interesting") but will likely be a constant in my stock. I have a soft spot for Old Ales and I particularly liked this one more than some of the others I've had. Another excellent beer from Founders.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a red / caramel / amber color. A sweet malty smell. Can detect the alcohol in the smell. Crisp clean taste.. fairly balanced but actually on the bitter side. Fairly bitter finish but not overwhelming. For its strength, this is very drinkable and smooth.

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Photo of atsprings
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crisp deep amber almost brown with no head, just a ring. The aroma is loads of malts with slight underlying hops. The taste is wonderfully complex, burnt caramel, dried fruits, and molasses all blend nicely. The beer is slightly heavy but the alcohol is not overbearing. This is a very enjoyable beer, especially as it warms.

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Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark amber color with slight ruby accents and a small tan head on it that quickly dissipated into nothing and left no lacing. The smell is dominant of dark fruits (plums and raisins) and caramel malt. I consider this a "malty" nose, and I like it on this cool fall evening. The flavor profile hits heavy with all of the caramel malt in the nose coming full force on the palate with other flavors or dark fruit, banana, and a spot of sweet molasses, but the alcohol in this offering also comes through in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation and a good shot of warming alcohol is present. The drinkability is very good on this beer, and I could have easily drank another one.

Another great beer from Founders.

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Photo of BierFan
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass. The bottle says 9.8%abv not 9.3.

Appearance: Hazy rusty brown. Good carbonation but no head. Definitely looks like a substantial brew.

Smell: Malty alcohol smell that one would expect. Some dark fruitiness to it.

Taste: Pleasantly malty with a sweet and spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and full mouthfeel.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a clear rich auburn color with a thinner but well sustained white head.Alcohol dipped fruit and vanilla stand out most in the nose with a hint of brown sugar,its warming at malt driven.Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a little thinner than expected,flavors are sweet up front with some cherry-like fruitiness and vanilla and the alcohol gives a little burn,there is a racey drying hop finish with is nice and balanced.A sipping brew, a nice warmer on a day like yesterday.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew in a trade with jcjwebster, Thanks Jeff!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - hazed orange/rust color with a beige head that remained as a ring and left some waves of lacing.

S - aroma is some alcohol and something sweet, sort of like raisins.

T - bourbon flavor upfront, then a sweet malty taste kicks in, even more so as it warms.

F - full bodied, thick and chewy.

O - a pleasant sipper.

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Photo of roadhouse
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears a brownish red color with a quarter to half inch off-white head that sinks to a thin skim rather quickly.

Aroma sweet and malty. Lots of caramel and toffee with some raisin and fig character. Perhaps a bit of cherry and a light alcohol.

Taste is initially sweet, but not so much as the aroma would suggest, with the dark fruit character sticking out then it becomes a bit more earthy with a slight bitterness and spiciness that linger on into the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and very soft on the palate. It would be a bit higher but it kind of leaves a weird slick feeling on the palate after the swallow.

Quite an interesting brew and a bit better than the Bell's Third Coast Old Ale that I tried. I would like to get another bottle of this to age alongside my Third Coast and give both another try in a couple months or so.

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Photo of kasper
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a semi translucent copper with auburn highlights. Minimal banana cream colored head that leaves tads of lacing when swirled. Looks like a barleywine or strong Dogfish head ale like the Fort.

S: Smell is sweet, fruity, all malt and alcohol. Smells just like a barely wine. Maybe some raspberry, raison, a little sweet cherry possible, who knows. It's just really sweet on the nose. As it warms, banana definitely comes through

T: Was expecting a big burst of sweetness here but it's surprisingly well balanced. Really malty and bready. Some banana flavor. Maybe some oak. A little spicy at the end. But that big hit of alcohol and sweetness I was expecting from the appearance and smell never hits, and that's a good thing. Never tasted something like this before. It's enjoyable.

M: Thick, slightly velvety but overall a very smooth and palette coating feel. Tiny bit of sharpness on the finish. Not sure if that is alcohol or spice working. Overall this is one of the strongpoints of the beer next to the taste.

D: This beer is not sweet in a cloying way, which I expected it to be from the poor. It's very well balanced somehow. I'm not sure I'd drink more than one of these in a sitting but can breeze through the first one quite easily. A good beer.

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Photo of brdc
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks hoppymeal for this one; small capped bottle, poured into a snifter.

Fairly dark amber, with glowing, reddish highlights, very little light tan head, some surface coating on its way down.
Aroma is boozy, caramels soaked in port wine, dark fruits. Not very strong.
Full bodied, vinous, feels like a port wine and frequently tastes like one. It also nice waves of bitterness and sweetness, with a propensity towards sweet; caramel, toffee, raisins, lots of warming alcohol, spiciness likely coming from this alcohol that if it not well hidden, it is pleasant.

A very good old ale, not my favorite, but quite close.

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Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich redwood color with a silky tan head. Not the best retention, but still a fine looking ale. The nose has a collection of oaky malts, smoke, cocao and ripe fruits. Taste is well balanced between big roasty malts, sweet residual sugars and subtle floral hops. Full body is well carbonated. A very good version of the style that I could drink quite often.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz stubby brown bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Would have poured a clear dark copper, but with the extra yeast poured into the class it takes on a nice hazy copper, like a really really high ABV hefeweizen. The beer is topped with a one and a half inch frothy white head but bubbles down to a tight, thin cap with nice creamy lacing that does not last as long as I initially hoped it would have. Just the slightest bit bland looking.

S: Strong and sweet, heavy cream, vanilla, all brought together by strong, oaky, notes. Mild bouron, but is really more on account of the vanilla in the beer than anything else.

T/MF: Very smooth, like silk in the mouth but with a subtle carbonation that gives this beer a nice, almost chewy character. Big, oaky, opening. Sweet dark fruits, cherry is the most dominate here, but even this flavor is rather subtle, as though it is wrapped in a blanket of vanilla ice cream. Understated hop bitterness and once again demonstrates Founders' dedication to creating a uniquely balanced beer.

D: Incredibly smooth and balanced, not too sweet, just the right amount of bitterness, makes for an incredibly drinkable beer. If it just looked a bit prettier this beer would score a 5 in this category, but appearance still counts for me when it comes to drinkability. Still a fantastically drinkable beer.

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

A: Pours a deep opaque mahogany with a nice sized white head.

S: Caramel malt, candi sugar, dark fruits (cherry) and coconut

T/M: Damn is this good. Alcohol and sugar soaked cherries. Big malt profile. Lingering spice and maybe some toffee. Full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. This is awesome stuff

D: I could drink this all night even though it would leave me horrendously hung over. It just might be worth it.

An awesome beer. I actually prefer this over the Breakfast Stout, which while a great brew, is a little overrated in my book. For those that like old-style ales, this one is worth seeking out.

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Photo of tburkhart
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Let me start this review by saying the Old Ale style is not something I am overly familiar with, but I figured I give this one a shot coming from Founders.

The appearance is a hazy dark orange with little to no head. What little head is there clings to the side of the glass leaving no lacing what-so-ever.

Smells of slightly roasted raisins and quite possibly some toffee and other dark fruits. Carmel malts come at you front and center.

Many carmel malts come through on the back of the palate. Almost a acidic bitterness. Very "bitey". Notes of the alcohol come through as well.

This is definitely not a session beer. A few of these in a night could put you right to sleep. All and all, not a huge fan of this style, but will try some others to be certain.

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

A - Dark amber with light trails of carbonation trailing upwards; Rather opaque as I can barely see through it and actually find myself looking into my reflection. One can tell that the beer is going to be sticky in the mouth. Had a one finger head but that went down to a bit of foam trailing on the sides and islands of it floating about my snifter

S - loads of caramel malt with hints of dark fruit as well. Definitely get a hint of the alcohol as well. Scents of sweet, orange remind me a bit of grand marnier; actually get a hint of brandied cherries and vanilla as well which just adds a great feeling to this brew;

T - At first, a hint of caramel malt with a hint of brown sugar and cherry; There is a big whiff of spice that just warms you up and tingles your tongue fading away into candied dates; Near the end there is a candied orange peel comes up in the end along with a bit of alcoholic bite; reminds me a bit of a brandied toffee bread pudding with bits of cherries strewn throughout.

M - Actually not too sticky; the mouth feel is rather big and has a nice carbonation to it which really seems to lend itself to the orange peel flavors in the taste; nice warming tingle left on the tongue that matches the flavors of the spice

D - Overall a nice complex sipper. It was rather good but I expected it to be a bit sweeter. I think this would be good with a bit of age on it to let the orange peel die down a bit; it was rather spicy as well and sometimes think that took a bit away from the other flavors. I do like this though, but not my favorite ale. Think it would go well with some ice cream or maybe a brownie.

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Photo of prototypic
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: It pours a very hazy, garnet tinted brown color. The head is off-white and about a finger and a half deep. Retention was short lived and light lacing lined the glass. I suspect the 9.3% abv got to it.

Smell: It's very sweet and malty smelling. Mostly smells like caramel malts. There's a healthy dose of dark fruit there as well. Raisin and plum aromas are strong. Alcohol is no doubt present. Very prominent. There is a very unique aspect to the nose here. Something about it just reminds of standing on a wharf taking in the smell. It's not exactly fishy. I can't quite put my finger on it. But, it's very unique and I like it.

Taste: Loads of caramel malt hit the palate first. Very sweet and malty. Really nice base for this beer. There's are some plum and raisin flavors, but they're not quite as strong here. They play a nice complementary role however. There's a slight bit of spice to it. Not strong, but a nice touch. Slight vanilla taste emerges late. Alcohol is actually blended very well and is not as noticeable here. Slight warming effect though. I can't say there's any single, unique flavors that jump out here as one did before. But, this is a really great tasting beer nonetheless.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick and incredibly smooth. Carbonation is pretty and really helps it attain a smooth, creamy feel. Drinkability is good, though somewhat limited by the high abv and big feel. It's truly a big, filling beer.

Old Curmudgeon's a kick ass old ale. Founders makes awesome beer. I'm really in awe of their seasonal/limited releases. They're easily one of the top brewers out there. If you're into big, thick, flavorful beers, this one's for you. Highly recommended.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield so I though it was time to give it a try. 12 ounce stubby bottle with an old man on the front.

A: Pours murky red with brown highlights. No foam buld-up on the initial pour but after the pour, small bubbles came to the top leaving a tan ring and dotted lacing.

S: Smelled of bready yeasts, sweet malts, light cinammon, bananna, vanilla, caramel and a bit of mustiness.

T: Full flavored blast of sweet, caramelized malts - Malts all over the place followed by subdued flavors including spice, bananna and vanilla. Slight warming alcohol becomes present after allowing the beer to warm to room temperature.

M: Full bodied and oily. Finshes very wet with the slightest amount of bitterness and low carbonation.

Interesting and enjoyable. Good example for the style.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby/brown/orange color with minimal head and nice ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet malts, oats, some sweet fruit, a pinch of hops, honey, cinnamon, and a bit of alcohol. Great scent, there is a lot going on here, but not too much, and the alcohol is balanced very well and not overpowering.

Taste of oats, honey, molasses, sweet malts, cinnamon, and some alcohol. Finishes with oak and some bourbon. As impressive as the scent, for being so fresh this is impressive to have such depth and strength, being balanced and complex already I can't wait to see how this is aged.

Mouthfeel is heavy, smooth, and harsh. A strong mouthfeel for a strong beer, good stuff.

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

This beer poured a cloudy golden brown color and formed a small off white head that left latticed lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel, raisins and chocolate is present. The flavor is of malt, caramel, plums and hint of chocolate. The body is medium and the finish is sweet with a slight peppery quality with the warming aspect of the alcohol present coming through. A nice beer from Founders that I wish would show up here in Columbus more, or at least more places.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased before it was supposed to be released. thanks glunz!

A- dark amber, almost ruby body with almost no head. what little there is is quite sticky.

S- malty and fruity. cherries, plums, and red grapes. a slight hint of alcohol. not as intense as i was expecting.

T- very sweet and fruity. very barleywine like. the alcohol taste is there for sure. warms the throat all the way down.

M- a little thin for what i was expecting. somewhat creamy.

D- great for a cold winter night indoors. not so good in the summer. one is probably enough. its pretty potent. ill be curious to see what this develops into.

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Photo of tedsox31
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The color is a darker amber color with a medium head that dissipates stubbornly and leaves some lacing down the side.

Smells of caramel, spices, toffee, and some fruit. Smells good.

The taste is sweet, of malt, caramel, and coriander. There is not much of a hop presence until after I swallow, in which it then lingers. The coriander comes through as it warms, and I do not taste much of an alcoholic presence despite the abv.

This is a clean, medium-carbonated feel, and not too heavy.

A very quaffable beer. Probably wouldn't want more than a couple because of the deceptive abv. More of a "sipper". I'll be enjoying the rest of this 4 pack.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter. Poured a mahogany color with copious yeast particles present in solution. Not quite opaque, as there was some light penetration, put extremely diminished clarity. Quarter inch off-white cap quickly dissipated into a swirly skim. Nose is pretty incredible; wonderful complexity. Picked up vanilla, bourbon, caramel and oak on this one straight out of the bottle. Taste consistent with nose, but some more booziness comes out as well as a mild dark fruit character. Really quite tasty (I had a hard time deciding between a 4 & a 4.5 on this one). Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a light-effervescent tingle. Some viscousness to the body, but not overwhelmingly so. Definitely a sipper, but very pleasurable to drink and savor as it warms. I am curious to see how this ages, as I think it will most likely improve over time.

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Photo of midaszero
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks stopbarking for the bottle

A - Cloudy dark red brown with almost no head at all

S - can smell it from a distance. excellent mixture of dark fruits, caramel sweetness, oak, and also toffee. a little bit of boozes to be detected as well

T - Oak aged raisins covered in caramel and toffee sauce. Nice clean finish with some alcohol to be had in the back.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - WOW I could drink this all the time it is simply amazing.

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