Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

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BA SCORE
89
very good

1,183 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,183
Hads: 4,163
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 177
Gots: 914 | FT: 53
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
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Reviews: 1,183 | Hads: 4,163
Photo of msubulldog25
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass. This was received sometime in mid-2007 from a midwest trader as an extra; no date on the bottle...since it's an Old Ale (9.3%), I figured the unknown age wouldn't be much of a factor.

A: Very pretty hue...a toasty, reddish auburn that glows like an ember. Everything else is less attractive: a virtually still carbonation, many suspended bits of tiny yeast, a pencil-thin strand of light tan around the rim. No lace. Looks 'old'...but the color nudges this above 'average'.

S: Immediate aroma of raisins, cherries, and a boozy oaken bourbon. Citrus hopping, tons of malty toffee/sugar sweetness - this smells somewhat like a mellowed English barleywine.

A: So much of what's in the aroma comes forward in the flavor - very happy with that! The cherry/raisin/bourbon flavor is impressively complex, with a balanced hoppy spiciness and even some oak tartness. Why am I so convinced that this wood-aged, when there's nothing on the bottle or Founders website that indicates this? Both my wife and I tasted this barrel-like flavor first and foremost...

M: Certainly there's been some softening of the carbonation, which in turn gives a nice velvety quality. Not a huge body, nor a lengthy lingering aftertaste; this one is smooth and pleasantly warm in the mouth and down the throat.

D: Wonderful to drink at the moment. Whatever some extra aging has done to downgrade the appearance has been made up for in drinkability and texture. Well-balanced flavors and enticing aroma make for an ale I'd love to sip on again. Recommended! (1,572 characters)

Photo of twokansamm
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red in color with a super thin tan head.

Brown sugar and caramel aromas dominate. Others are in there too, like toffee and raisins.

Caramel and brown sugar immediately with a hint of chocolate lingering... and then comes a hint of raisins.

A sipper, as the sweetness tends to be there all the time. No crazy hops on the backend to overwhelm, in fact maybe a bit short in the balancing attempt.

This is not my favorite style, but this beer has a lot going on which makes it enjoyable to drink. (501 characters)

Photo of soupyman10
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UPDATE - 11/02/08: Threw this one under my bed (I use complex ageing systems) and left it for six months. Tried it again and WOW. Totally different flavor than when I had it fresh. Huge whiskey flavors and aromas flying all over the place. Really an incredible drink. Still crazy sweet, but no alcohol at all, just that sort of musky aroma the burbon gives off. I'd like to try cellaring more of these to see what happens...

Pours a nice amber brown color with a finger of slightly off-white head that dissolves to a fine film fairly fast. Solid looking, although the lacing is fairly non-existent. Nose is strong, full of toffee and caramel. Some sweet dried fruit in there too, and maybe a touch of spicy hoppy alcohol. Flavor is spicy and acidic. Quite vinous, with raisins and a sort of acidic aftertaste. Again, principally strong toffee malt but with a nice fruity background as well. A highly sweet beer, and fairly alcoholic (the 9.3% is fairly well hidden in the fruit and spiciness though). Body is medium with very mild, smooth carbonation, as is fairly standard for the style (and for a beer this high in alcohol). Overall, a very tasty one, although the ABV might keep me from having more than one or two. A very good dessert beer. I'm going to try cellaring one and see if the spiciness mellows at all. (1,317 characters)

Photo of jamie2dope
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Grabbed a single of this in Cambridge. This will be my second time trying this brew, but the first as far as trying it from the bottle. Poured into my Stella glass a ruby color, with a small white heading. Smell is dominated by raisin, maple syrup, molasses and a bit of caramel. Taste is right along the same lines, with the maple syrup and raisins shining the most...is very sweet and sugary. Body is full and isn't afraid to throw its weight around with the alcohol. It is there and you will know it after a bottle. Great beer, but the intense flavors and in your face alcohol make it a difficult beer to drink. Reminds me a little bit of North Coast's Old Ale, which is also quite enjoyable. A beer to sit down and take your time with. Cheers (746 characters)

Photo of Dalem
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very radiant dark amber color shines through an unfiltered cloudiness. A very, very minimal head that goes away almost as soon it's pour and lacing that slips down off the glass back to the edges of the beer with each sip. A scent's something akin to oak barrel aged bourbon is right up front then followed up a bit of vanilla, caramel, sweet malts and a general earthiness.
First taste already says this is a winner! The thick and creamy (but not too heavy) of a fullness fills the mouth, a bourbon sweetness tickles every corner but not to the extent of a whiskey sting because the malts subdue into an almost caramelized and soothing throat coat. The back of the throat gets a painted with a molasses, hazelnut and honey coat that makes some clear their throat between sips but each sip til the glass is done is a seductive and warm flirt of a 9.5 percent and 50 IBU's (873 characters)

Photo of bosco7
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany color with a thin tan head. Some chill haze just after pouring, but this clears up after a couple minutes.

Brown sugar, toffee, caramel, some cherry, banana, prune , and raisin aromas fill the air in the snifter. Extremely sugary. Extremely appealing nose.

Sweet upfront, in the middle, and at the finish. Strong raisin flavors upfront with toffee and brown sugar. Some cherry and slight raspberry in the middle. Cola? A bit of cocoa powder.

Slick and chewy mouthfeel make this a sipper, and this paired with the sweetness kind of detracts from the overall drinkability. We're talking really sweet.

Overall plenty of excellent flavors and aromas to go around. This would pair nicely with a stilton or Point Reyes Blue Cheese. Good beer for sure. (762 characters)

Photo of JustinOSU99
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber color with some great lacing. Decent one inch head settles nicely. Smells just like a fine whiskey. It's seriously one of the stranger beers I've had the pleasure of putting up to my nose. I get a strong sense of oak aging and some caramel. Not surprisingly this is just like sipping a whiskey. I'm not quite sure what to say about the taste of the beer, but i am enjoying the sipping aspect of it. A different type of beer, but one that you could settle down to in the evening. (497 characters)

Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours beautiful with an inch and a half of light tan head with foamy bubbles and nice retention. Body is a ruby brown mix that beckons to be drank. Nose has a nice combination of toasted almonds, rum, and dark fruits equaling a very robust feel. Enters the mouth with a resin like nutty oak character. Dark ripe fruits appear on the back of the tongue. Slight spicyness sparkles on the tailend of the palate. A rich spicey thick mouthfeel is the result. Sweetness is all over this beer and it is very bold with a smokey feel. Alchol is well hidden but the belly tells you it is there. Drinkability is decent. (608 characters)

Photo of david131
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A dark orange with some brown thrown in there. The head is small and white and settles to a ring with some good swirls over the surface of the liquid. The thing that got to me was all the floaties.

S- Lots of vanilla and some bourbon. Some caramel notes in there as well. The aromas blend together pretty well for not being all that aged.

T- Carmely, bourbon, vanilla. Some sweetness and a little alcohol. Pretty well blended, but the alcohol could be hidden a little better.

M- Creamy and thick with just the right amount of carbonation. Clean and crisp and just a little numbing. Very good.

D- Definitely a sipper, but very enjoyable. I was not blown away, but this was very well done. I will be interested to see how the other 3 age. (743 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle a clear dark amber-ruby color with a healthy off-white foam head. Wedding dress-like lacing all around.

Aroma is bright and and sweet. Toffee, caramel and brown sugar along with hops and malts are present.

Tastes of spicy hops, sweet malts, and warm alcohol. It's tough to hide 9%.

Medium mouthfeel, slick and oily with just a touch of carbonation.

A very nice Old Ale from Founders. Drink it slow and enjoy.

I'd love to cellar one of these and see how it ages. (488 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Caracole tulip. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a cloudy, dark-amber color. Sitting on top is a 3/4 finger of creamy, off-white head that leaves ample lace behind.

S: Subtle aromas of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and a touch of alcohol. Some caramel and sweet fruit as well.

T: Wonderful sweet caramel mixed with rich bourbon. Also noticed were dark fruit, coconut, chocolate, oak, apple, and vanilla. Whoa!

M: Very creamy and slippery. Oily and sweet, but just this side of being syrupy.

D: The alcohol is so well hidden, I wondered if it really was 9.3%. Heather said it reminded her of Backwoods Bastard. I'd definitely agree. This is much better than I remember from years past. (729 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
3.37/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce brown bottle, no dates.

Dark chestnut colour. Very thin tan head quickly fades to naught but a halo.

Rich caramel notes blend with a hint of fruitiness along with a bit of noticeable alcohol.

Slight fruitiness, reminiscent of figs, vanilla - the character of which makes me wonder if this was aged on American oak. Finishes sweet. Full bodied, slight carbonation. Not really what I'm looking for in an Old Ale. (426 characters)

Photo of wardough
2.03/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

As a fellow Michigander, I was disappointed by this beer. Founders makes some great beers, so this must be an anomaly. It poured a beautiful dark amber into my glass. It poured very dense, almost like syrup, which is very inviting. It foams up to 1 finger then dissipates down to a light, white lacing. Smells is of vanilla and raw coconut. The coconut flavor overwhelms the smell of the beer. Taste is a little better. Hops, then raw coconut and vanilla, followed by a heavy alcohol finish. Mouthfeel is heavy, but lightly carbonated. The coconut flavor of the beer was so strong that this beer is not drinkable. Perhaps this would be alot better if it were better balanced. (675 characters)

Photo of chilidog
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd been waiting to stumble upon Old Curmudg for some time, I'm glad I finally got some. This is my second bottle of the four. A clean palate makes a differance.

It pours a toffee reddish murk. A good tan head that maintained well. Lace was wise like as it bearded the glass lightly.

The aroma was mild though malted vanilla and oak could be noticed. The flavors of the taste pop the hints of the nose.
Good caramel malts spashed in a rum like vanilla bean raisin.
Bourbon barral notes carry thru though the alcohol is mild given the 9.3%. Its very smooth and easy on the mouth.
The non-intrusive alcohol aids this very drinkable old ale.
A wise Old Ale indeed! (664 characters)

Photo of kajerm
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub, and easily the best beer on at the time. Pours deep red and surprisingly clear with a thin white head and not much lacing. Great color.

The aroma is classic Bigge Englishe Beer-- loaded with sticky toffee and caramel malts and dark fruit, with some clear oak and vanilla notes from the barrel-aging. Alcohol is evident but not excessive.

Tastes more or less exactly like it smells, but with the interesting addition of some stouty coffee notes on the finish. The barrel-aging on this beer is much subtler than a lot of the others I've tasted. As much as I like a vanilla-and-molasses oak bomb, it's nice to find a beer where the barrel is a part of the beer instead of running the show.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. In terms of drinkability, it's a sipper, but a fairly easy-drinking one. (816 characters)

Photo of Enola
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a nice cloudy brown with a small head. The smell is hops, dried apricots, raisens and alcohol. The taste is somewhat nutty, caramel and molasses. But the dominating thing is the abv. Mouthfeel is smooth but with a whiskey like aftertaste and drinkability is fine on a cool day. This beer is barleywine-like and will certainly warm your ears. A decent beer that I would revisit. (390 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
3.22/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 12-11-07

Pours a super cloudy (and supery yeasty) red brown color. A filmy head sits in top, leaving rings of lacing.

Smell is sweet and earthy, with a complex quality that adds a huge amount of depth. Fruity, and slightly boozy.

Taste is an absolute shock. Thick, sour apple cider gives way to a sizable bourbon kick. I was not expecting this flavor at all, and it absolutely dominates the beer.

Mouthfeel is very good, super thick. You can taste the bourbon forever.

Drinkability is not so good, a hugely intense beer.

Overall, unexpected. The standard dark fruit flavors of an old ale were covered up entirely by the alcohol bourbon flavor. Maybe I'll enjoy the next one more, when I can see it coming. (722 characters)

Photo of BelgianAleSlut
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark hazy brown, when held to the light it looks like heavily brewed tea. This is how I like my beers.

Not much smell other than sugar coming through at the moment.

Beer is on the flat side, neither head nor lacing. However, the bottle was very cold when I poured it - I probably should have let it warm up for a few.

Taste is heavy on the malt and has a brandy/whiskey thread at the finish.

Low carbonation and heavy malt do not excite my palate. Alcohol is nice and drinkability is good.

Good stuff the get through the cold Michigan winter season. A bit pricey for a 4-pack. (589 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
1.57/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a small foamy head with small rings of lacing. Aroma is super sweet, almost disgustingly so with some notes of alcohol. Taste is a huge mess between some intense sweetness, oily texture with some cloying notes of alcohol. I couldn’t find anything close to old ale but more of an American barleywine with some unbalance feature. I usually love product from this brewery but this beer did not profit from barrel-aging. (467 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky melted toffee with blurry orange and amber edges. The pour resulted in scant head formation, just one finger of brown sugar colored cream that doesn't look as though it's interested in leaving much lace. That's okay, the beer itself more than makes up for it.

I like the nose, but it could be deeper and more complex. Maybe warming will help open things up a little. I smell earthy caramel, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. I've read that the 2006 vintage (this bottle) was aged in bourbon barrels. Unless something changes on the palate, I have my doubts about the barrel-aged bona fides of this batch.

Thankfully, Curmudgeon takes on more of a winning personality on the taste buds. I was beginning to think that Founders lost their touch for brewing great beer. No worries on that front. I love what I'm tasting at this point and should be blown away once the slight chill is lost. It tastes like one of those ales that likes to be at or near room temperature.

A prodigious amount of caramel malt is present, resulting in a 'sticky toffee pudding' flavor the likes of which I've rarely encounted. Accessory flavors include dark rum-soaked raisins and dark brown sugar-crusted bitter orange peel. What a fantastic confluence of sweet and bitter. Sweet wins handily, by the way.

Alcohol is beautifully integrated, while still providing a power and a presence that all old ales (the good ones anyway) need to have. I'm still reminded of rich, mellow dark rum, but thanks to the caramelized sugar and vanilla notes, I'm no longer scoffing at the possibility that this bottle is from one of the bourbon barrel-aged batches. Say that five times fast.

The mouthfeel is dangerously close to perfection. I've had bigger old ales and I've had sticker old ales, but I've haven't had too many that possessed this combination of size, smoothness and silkiness. This stuff is so easy to drink that I've almost drained the entire bottle when I thought I was only halfway through.

Curmudgeon is yet another outstanding beer from Michigan's best brewery (sorry Mr. Bell). There are very few beer artisans who nail each and every style like these guys do. That's why they're on my list of 'Top-10 American Craft Breweries' and will be for the foreseeable future. If you want a delicous old ale that is pretty close to the gold standard for the style, seek this one out. (2,366 characters)

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

Founders Curmudgeon is best served at cellar temperatures (45-50F) in a "bubble-type" glass or a large brandy snifter. This potent elixir pours up smart & simple with just the perfect amount of carbonation. The gorgeously, inviting chestnut-ruby brown body is capped nicely with a small, persistent, cream colored head. This beauty even shows a bit of leg. The big, sweet caramel (e.g. caramel apple, toffee bits/molasses chips, muscovado sugar) aroma is wonderfully complex with hints of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Frangelico & Madeira. The flavor starts off luciously rich & somewhat chewy with lots of burnt caramel, toasted nuttiness and dried fruit. The bitterness never quite seems to catch-up to the huge maltiness, but the warming alcohol plays nicely into the whiskey laced finish. This medium-full bodied old ale is smooth & creamy with a straight-forward complexity that will bring color to any occasion. This is another finely crafted brew from Founders. Here's to the crusty "ill-tempered' Curmudgeon!

CHEERS! Beertracker (1,037 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one in a trade like most I now forget where it came from.... Whoever sent it Thanks!

A: Pours a reddish brown hue with a thunderous head. Quite a few bubbles but very little lacing.

S: Very big. Tons of malt, oak, bourbon, cherries and vanilla. You could pass this off for a very nice snifter of Bourbon.

T: The smell defined the taste in this one. Tons of oak. Like fine barrel aged bourbon baby yet soo much more complex. Besides the oak the alcohol is present, there is also vanilla and chocolate candied covered cherries. Lovely Brew.

M: Medium bodied yet clingy. Takes hold of my mouth and throat with the strong oakiness, and burns its way down.

D: Like Bourbon and Whiskey I would drink this one only in small doses. It's a sipper, but a very fine one indeed. To be enjoyed one bottle at a time.

Overall: I have gotten into the Old Ales recently and this one is a perfect example. I would like to get another and age it a bit to see what it does to the flavor. If the alcohol taste died down a bit, that would be a plus but this is one very complex brew. Founder's is quite possibly my second favorite brewer out there and as I continue to taste more and more of their expertly crafted brews such as this one; they continue to gain on Stone which at this time is my first. (1,306 characters)

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

I got this from EvilKeith in a trade.

This one pours a dark copper amber with a little cherry to it. The head is a bumpy film of manila.

Smells like bourbon. This is good. There are also strong hints of vanilla with some gingersnap cookies and heavy caramel.

There’s lots of bourbon in the flavor too. This is riding on top of a scotch ale and pipe tobacco base with some nectarines, cherries, peaches and marshmallows. There’s a nice aromatic bourbon and smooth vanilla bean in the finish.

Feels dense and clean with a fuzzy carbonation with a little electric sting to my mouth.

I’m just going to assume this one’s spent some time in a bourbon barrel. It seems to be a good introduction to barrel beers if one was interested. Makes for a good sipper over all. (780 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged in my cellar for one year wanted to see how this bad boy was doing and so far it seems to be doing very well.

Very dark caramel colored thick liquid with multitudes of tiny particles wondering aimlessly abound. What small head is there disspates nearly instantly, leaving very little trace lacing.

The nose on this has seemed to multiply in the depth of smell. Immensly complex aromas of coconut milk, coconut, bourbon, pure vanilla, pineapple, cream, caramel, toffee, a odd strawberry quick aroma, prune, layers of dried berries and nut trail mix. I really don't want to drink this as I'd be content just smelling this marvelous brew for the rest of the night.

Smooth is the name of this game. Thick, silky, viscous elixir with a two minute finish. Some bittering hops on the end make you pucker as well as a woodsy bourbony flavor that leaves a wine like tannin. I would say this beer easily has another year in her if not three. Full again of fresh chopped coconut, dried cranberry, white and red raisin, dates, prune, caramel and toffee. A celebration in a glass. Nutty mid palate with a maple brown sugar twist. Have three more of these too sample each of the next three years. Can't wait. (1,208 characters)

Photo of jjayjaye
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy dark amber color without much of a head at all.

The smell is intense and dominantly bourbon, vanilla, cherries and a little coconut.

Medium bodied, the mouth is initially conditioned by the alcohol, but that effect doesn't linger. A hint of carbonation...and that's all this one needs. Definitely a warm ale and a sipper at that.

The flavor has the classic old ale caramel molasses thing going on, and the bourbon character complements it really well IMO. It's quite sweet but doesn't have that lingering, coating character.

Drinkability - This one is nicely done. I'm assuming that these would probably have a decent shelf life too (666 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,183 ratings.