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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

very good
1,251 Reviews
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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,251 | Ratings: 4,537
Photo of FBarber
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, crisp dark amber color with a thick tan head that dissipated but left some lovely lacing along the top.

Smells strongly of oak, malt and spices. Taste is very oaky up front - if you could brew wood, this is what it would taste like. Also get lots of malts and some spice, bit of a bitter finish. This beer is pretty carbonated, and it masked some of the distinct flavors for me. Otherwise very smooth light beer - I actually liked that it was a lighter oak aged beer.

Overall, a interesting offering - love the oaken flavors in this ale, really good - well worth trying.

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Photo of LAp
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours an almost clear ruby-amber (lighter than expected given the depth of the nose). A think 3 finger head quickly rises and recedes slowly, leaving gorgeous lacing. Rich oak and molasses right off the bat. Scotch and bourbon notes round out the nose, with a hint of dark fruit (dark grape and cherry). Nosed from the somewhat more open rim of the tulip however, lighter notes come through (hop, pine, and even a vague hint of raspberry). Palate is oak, loads of malt, with a hop bite on the backend that is unexpectedly prominent. Mouthfeel is closer to thin or medium than the thicker, chewy beer I would have anticipated, certainly lighter than expected. Overall not quite was I was predicting when I cracked the cap, but a good beer nonetheless. I would have appreciated a little more body, and a little more oak in the character, but it's a beer that's true to the style without exemplifying its highlights in any unique ways. I would have to try another bottle though to really resolve my feelings on whether or not the thinness of the body and lack of nuance of the malt palate weigh this beer down to a lower rating that I've given it here.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look (3.75): Slight haze to it with an amber brownish and ruby hue. Not a massive carbonation to it. Small sticky head.

Smell (3.5): An oaky and maple syrup like kind of aroma. Some floral notes, maybe a bitter like coffee smell, but neither are intense. Some vanilla and coconut from the wood.

Taste (3.75): Again, a ton of oakiness everywhere. At first you're hit with big caramel malty flavors. There are big bready and perhaps cherry notes in there, but not estery fruit ones. Some slight bitterness and black pepper spice at the end. Some vanilla and coconut from the wood.

Mouthfeel (4.5): This is the best part. I'm fairly certain the oak used in this is lightly toasted American Oak. You get those classic coconut and vanilla smells out of it. This also gives it a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel as it warms up. Very nice =)

Overall (4): This seems like a cool brew that would get pretty interesting as it ages. I'll have to experience with it more that way.

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Photo of Ikeithbot
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

hazed slightly murky dark brown beer with very little head. pretty much what one expects from an old ale.
the aroma contains tangy vanilla, caramel, something like a roasted coconut, soft bourbon, toffee, a little booze, that nice "aged" aroma (don't know how better to describe it, but it's not oxidation), oak and some fruity vinous characteristics maybe like raisins... in no particular order.
the taste moves in about exactly the direction i want it to judging form the smell. vanilla bourbon oak, but not in the overdone, masking way that it seems to be used sometimes. caramel and toffee make their appearance spiced raisin flavors here to,but pretty minimal taking a back seat to a lot of maltyness.
soft, slick coating mouthfeel, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation.
good drinkability the alcohol is present, but never burns or becomes abrasive, it just stays pleasant and warming.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours a dark amber color with a vanilla colored head, some lacing, low carbonation, beer is clear, nice touches of ruby red when held up to the light, looks pretty good.

A: Caramel, toffee, malts, no alcohol on the nose, aromas are very subtle, not very aromatic.

T: Toasted caramel and toffee, touch of oak, moderate amount of bitterness in the middle, finish has lingering notes of caramel, toffee, and malt, very smooth and drinkable.

M: Full bodied, good amount of carbonation, semi-dry finish.

O: Picked up a single of this and I'm going back for the full four pack, taste great, nice solid malt bill, touch of oak, caramel, and toffee, balanced, a solid barrel aged offering from Founders, lacks a little on the aroma but there's plenty to enjoy in the taste, curious to see what some time in the cellar will do to this beer.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reading through some of the reviews, I think this is a tough beer to analyze.
It has too many flavors and too much alcohol.
And the flavors tend not to mask the alcohol... even as the beer ages.
The 4 pack I bought three years ago now has 1 left.
I will wait 2 years, maybe 3, to have it.
I will finish this review then.

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Photo of MLoxxer
2.84/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A respectable high gravity ale. I was able to enjoy this one on tap. The head left behind nice, residual lacing. Although I always think of old ales as darker than this I was pleased with the haziness. From a flavor perspective, this one is hoppier and less complex than I would like. That being said, I like the style and will be having Old Curmudgeon again.

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Photo of Slowjamcdub
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good brew, Think classic seafaring ports, local pubs and weathered old fishermen. This old ale is brewed with molasses and an insane focus on the malt bill, then oak-aged. Nice high Alc level. Best part about this beer and the label is cool.

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Photo of Malt_Man
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served at cellar temperature from 355ml bottle into American nonic pint glass.

L) Chestnut to light brown colour, some big lumps of yeast, quite a few small bubbles rising. A thin off-white head.

S) Well, alcohol / scotch for a start! Bits of sweet milk chocolate too.

T) Smooth flavour; nothing huge there, bits of scotch, brown ale malt. Not much in the hops department. Raisins and dried fruit from the malt.

F) Very smooth, low carbonation, does not taste anywhere near 9.8% ! Only a slight dry bitterness on the aftertaste. Way too drinkable for a strong beer!

O) Again, the word that comes to mind is smooth. Easy drinking strong ale, glad I've tried it.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thoroughly enjoyed form a growler via Jungle Jim's. This most excellent old ale pours a beautiful reddish amber with a thick head of khaki foam that settles to a beefy ring, pooling layer, and spotty lacing. Nose of light amber molasses, subtle oak, and serious booze. Flavors exceed the nose with a creamy amber molasses and zesty hop bitterness that has touches of woodsy oak that shows itself on the back with rum like notes and subtle cherry flavors. Vastly improves with warmth. Smooth and rich, this one keeps from being a malt bomb by the zesty herbal hops. Medium mouth feel with strong warmth. An excellent old ale.


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Photo of Strike00
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: Dark Amber with an off-white head and decent lacing.
S: You cant smell the alcohol and the distinct smell of oak aging.
T: you cane taste the slight sourness of the oak as well as an underlying sweetness. Prominent alcohol at the end.
F: light- medium bodies with minimal carbonation. Really smooth.

O: I really enjoyed this sipper. You can tell its a higher ABV but also has great oak flavor and sweetness to balance it out.

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Photo of CaptFrothy
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Meh, when I had this fresh thought the molasses was too forward, so stuffed the other three in the cellar. Now, over a year later, revisited. looks good, smells okay, the molasses taste has subdued.

But in general, yawn, nothing here stands out, just okay to my tasting buds, mouthfeel isn't silky from the aging, taste is unremarkable, can't really name any of the flavors I'm getting here. Color me unimpressed, more cellaring probably can't help this pedestrian liquid.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aged almost a year, this copper bodied old ale has a very thin head and an extra thick nose. Smells delicious, slightly malty with tons of caramel, molasses obviously. Full bodied and really goes down smooth, nice sweetness to it.

This to me is an almost perfect winter beer. Nice warming, smooth on the pallet... A+

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Photo of willic
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber or copper, medium dark head, appears thin
Aroma: Intense! Sweet dried fruits? Toffee?
Flavor: Come to mama! The intensity builds in your mouth! Oaky, creamy, complex
Mouthfeel: Thin in body, with smoooooth texture and fun carbonation
Overall: VERY impressive beer! I really enjoyed!!!

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.45/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 2/06/14.

Comes in a completely turbid and opaque reddish brown color. Almost no head is produced, but wisps of lacing are still left along the inside of the glass.
It smells like canned plums in syrup, honey, sweet and sour cherries, toffee, vanilla, and oak.
The palate smacks of huge dark fruit and complex malt flavors. Cherries, dates, figs, plums, and raisins meet caramel, toffee, honey, wood smoke, and beets. Oak and vanilla are also there, smoothing things out. There's some warmth of booze on the finish, followed by a lingering sweetness.
The mouthfeel isn't super thick, more medium, but oily. Lightly carbonated.

Wow. Another success from Founders. They can do no wrong in my eyes.

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Photo of Marius
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

355 ml bottle. Clear ruby pour, little head. Smells of malted barley, caramel and caramelized fruit (cherries, prunes, stuff like that), raisins. Heavy caramel in the mouth, together with a hop bitterness and a metallic feeling in the background. Not one of the best old ales out there.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque amber producing 3+ fingers of frothy, lasting, beige head that leaves nice chunky rings & webs of sticky lace. Aroma is toffee/molasses & fruitcake, bready malts, candy apple, thin dark fruits, herbal hops, booze & a whiff of pine. Taste is a malty caramel & toffee/molasses, fruitcake, boozy, some dark fruits, roasted nuts, wood/vanilla with a boozy-sweet, woody finish & aftertaste of caramel, toffee, wood & alcohol spice. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with moderate carbonation, smooth, chewy & syrupy with prickles from front to finish. This is an absolute delight!

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

Bottled date of 02/05/2015. The man on the bottle looks a bit like my old college chemistry teacher, which is a bonus. Poured into a tulip and imbibed 12/18/2015.

L: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber-copper with a good khaki head that recedes to a thin persistent ring leaving slow downsliding lacing as a cavalcade of tiny bubbles continue to rise up through the elixir from the bottom of the glass.

S: Oak and toffee, with notes of molasses and dark fruits. Alcohol is perceptible but inviting rather than acrid.

T: Smooth oaky goodness for days, that only gets better and better as the beer warms. Over the continuous malty oak backbone a moderately alcoholic and carbonated pungency rapidly builds and then quickly recedes to reveal flavors of dark fruits and sweet molasses counterpointed by a background melody of earthy hops. Woody shades of oak linger long on the tongue. Quite pleasant.

F: Uncannily smooth, full-bodied with very little alcohol bite and absurdly quaffable for the ABV. Is this really 9.8%? Damn....yep. I am definitely feeling it toward the end of the glass. This stuff could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

O: Another solid ale from Founders. The premiere brewery from the state of my birth continues to represent the Pleasant Peninsula with first-rate brews. Rock on, you crafty ladies and gentlemen. Rock on.

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Photo of DaneBramage
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to describe, lots of flavors involved here such as molasses, tobacco, chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla and burnt fruit. Very smoky but all of the flavors seem to coexist well together. Another solid effort from Founders.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - dark copper murky beer, no head and therefore no lacing
S - musty, leather, tobacco, vanilla, caramel, toffee, butterscotch
T - musty, leather, dark fruits, tobacco, caramel, vanilla, bitter earthy hops
M - heavy, alcohol completely covered, aftertaste is musty, old, wholesome malts
O - great beer, bottled 1/14/15 drank 12/12/15, age is good for this one

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/1/2014. The body is a bright orange amber color with a short-lasting off white head. The smell is loaded with sweet malts, caramel, candied rum raisin, heavy oak, dark fruit, vanilla, brown sugar and molasses, maybe some leather or tobacco qualities. Mouth feel is on the fuller side of medium, there's some alcohol warmth felt after the swallow, dry finish, and not as sweet tasting as the smell would suggest. Very well balanced by the bitterness of the hops, which, by now, don't come through at all except for maybe an underlying earthiness. The flavor starts off with a sweet maltiness, honey, toffee, molasses, followed by a bitterness of the oak? some dark fruits, and toast. I enjoy this one more with at least a year on it.

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

12 oz bottle served at cellar temperature into a tulip. Bottled May 2, 2015.

Appearance - an aggressive pour leads to a dark ruby coloured beer capped with a finger of off-white head and good retention. A small thin curtain of lace cascades down the sides of the glass. The beer is just a bit cloudy and plenty of lively bubbles.

Smell - big time aroma of predominately molasses and treacle. Some related aromas of caramel, and butterscotch too, but mostly molasses.

Taste - huge malt flavours, molasses, treacle and even some liquorice for good measure. Great flavor combo that works well as a sipper. Bitterness is present but restrained although it prevents this old ale from becoming sweet. Alcohol flavours aren't too noticeable either.

Mouthfeel - smooth, with good carbonation and a thick body that is chewy like a piece of fine toffee. Body is definitely on the heavy side but it complements the flavours rather than detracting.

Overall - an awesome old ale, that I'm thankful I've tried. Huge body and molasses flavours make this not the most well rounded beer but the malt dimension is so great on this that it doesn't matter. Definitely a beer for all beer advocates.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.56/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Musty. Aroma reminds me of the smell of old peoples houses that I recall from collecting as a paperboy. Great memories, terrible olfactories. Clear Copper, small head. Lasting lace.Quite sour. Overly bitter sour makes for a puckery feel. Endearing flavor, but takes a while to get into.Clean brew. Not smooth. After"feel" is "Pasta Starchy". Not quite a success; though I am still a big fan of Founders.

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Photo of FBGordon
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on draft into an Irish pint glass.

A: Pours a beautiful copper with amber highlights, has an off-white head that laces nicely.

S: Notes of caramel and some piney hops with a touch of toffee.

T: Some hops out of the gate, notes of apricot and bread crust with some bitterness settling on the back end.

M: Medium body with good carbonation, a little bitterness on the back end.

O: A solid, enjoyable ale. Don't let the "Old Ale" style deter you, this is a style and a beer that you need to try. It's a big, heady beer at 9.8%, so drink responsibly!

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in November 2015. Liked to see the bottled date on the bottle, and drank it 5 months after the bottling.

Appearance: Deep amber with dark tan head. Beer is clear and not cloudy. Head is thick, and leaves a thin film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma filled with mix of roasted malt, sweet caramel, and some hops. Nice variety and balance

Taste: There is a nice mix of sweetness from the malt and bite from the hops. There is a little roasted coffee flavor, and I also get nice caramel flavors, balanced with a bit of hops. This was done in a nice combination with the other flavors. There is a nice variety of flavors in the aftertaste too.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Strong alcohol, which confirms the 9.8% on the bottle.

This is a smooth full-bodied Old Ale. It is an interesting combination of flavors, and I want to drink this again.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,251 ratings.