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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

1,219 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,219
Hads: 4,342
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 194
Gots: 1,004 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 1,219 | Hads: 4,342
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.

Cheers!

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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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Photo of dgilks
4.06/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.98/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of BeerDreadz
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.66/5  rDev -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.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
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

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
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?

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Photo of Beastcpa
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

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Photo of leitmotif
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,219 ratings.