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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

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3,452 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,452
Reviews: 1,095
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 133
Gots: 622 | FT: 45
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,452 | Reviews: 1,095 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -4.7%

12oz bottle from International Beverage in Grands Rapids, Michigan.

Pours a murky copper-brown hue with amber edges, a sliver of eggshell white foam, and several dots of lacing on the snifter. Solid appearance, especially for a high gravity beer.

Smell is vanilla, molasses, oak barrel, brown sugar, hazelnut, English fruit cake, table cream, red apple, cinnamon, milk chocolate, nutmeg, spruce, hint of sherry, fig, and ethanol. Unbelievably rich and layered aromas.

Taste is good, but does not live up to the nose. I get dried fruit, toffee, brown sugar, milk chocolate, caramel, and raisin with an astringent bitterness and some oak wood on the cough. Decent enough.

Mouthfeel is thick, full-bodied, higher than average carbonation, a little foamy, medium tingly bitterness transitions to a drying finish. Alcohol warms the insides while eluding the taste buds.

Overall, Curmudgeon makes for a pleasant night cap, but I would probably buy Hibernation, the Ola Dubh series, and North Coast Old Stock before grabbing this one again. A serviceable Old Ale that falls short of the greats.

11-03-2011 19:16:25 | More by cratez
Photo of ShanePB


3.53/5  rDev -12.2%

Having not had this beer in well over 1.5 years, I decided to give this another try. Served on-tap at, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Ruby copper colored body, fairly clear but definitely has a bit of haze. Small off-white head that didn't last too long, nor did it leave any real lace on the glass. To style, it looks alright; nothing spectacular but touches above average.

S: Deep dark, rich caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses and a definite boozy element. Not overwhelmed by any one quality but towards the end the oak is more noticeable. Fresh, matured oak wood creates an additional layer of depth but doesn't take the aromas deep enough, in my opinion.

T: Initially there's nothing on the front of the palate, instead it's consumed by the boozy bite from the swallow. Another sip, along with some palate adjustment, brings forward the dark and rich flavors. Molasses, burnt sugar and dark fruits (fig, raisin) are halfway in. The back end and finish leaves with a strange astringency from the oak. Overly woody and a bit out of place it seems. The alcohol doesn't fuse with the wood notes like other great wood/barrel-aged beers do.

M: Fairly well carbonated and a bit thinner on the palate than I would have recalled or liked. Not watery but not the feel I was hoping for in an Old Ale.

For me, this style is certainly hit or miss and while I don't think this was a complete miss, it wasn't a dead-on hit either. There are some really nice complexities in the beer but also some very tangent flavors. There doesn't seem to be a mastered balance in the flavor profile, but it still does have qualities that make it enjoyable.

11-03-2011 12:40:31 | More by ShanePB
Photo of tfratzke


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

Pours a deep orange/brown. Opaque with a small tan head the quickly disappears. Smells of sweet syrup, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar. Ting of grapefruit.
Taste is of brown sugar, caramel, maple and pretty boozy. Very sweet. Mouth-feel thick and syrupy. Alcohol is very present. Not in a bad way, just definitely a nice warming/sipping brew. Overall this is really good and enjoyable.

11-01-2011 01:36:50 | More by tfratzke
Photo of DrewZ926

New York

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%

a: pours a deep, opaque, almost ruby orange. no head to speak of. bright lighter shades around the rim, very rich golden amber throughout

s: deep, syrupy sweet malts. caramelized hops. notes of orange grapefruit citrus peak through. picking up faint golden raisin

t: very complex malt bill. a lot of sweet biscuit with resonating caramel from the nose. faint hop bitterness on the finish. very full and well rounded

m: surprisingly thick, though admittedly my first old ale. nice carbonation upfront, smooth finish

d: slight bit of heat upfront, though mellowing as it warms

o: great selection for a chilly night. cant compare it to other old ales though. enjoying the subtle use of hops--contrasts the upfront sweetness of the malt

10-31-2011 02:21:48 | More by DrewZ926
Photo of samie85


4.3/5  rDev +7%

Bottled on date is 2/04/10, so this one is a over a year and a half old.

A-Pours a light, tawny port with half finger of white head that dissipates to a thin ring around the inside of my snifter.

S-The nose is comprised primarily of big oak notes, vanilla, rich toffee notes, and a bit of plum with some earthy hops.

T-Oak and dark plum with some toffee, and a bit of vanilla with a earthy bitter hop finish.

M-Very light carbonation with a medium bodied and a drying, woody finish.

D-This is a very nice and intriguing brew. I like it quite a bit as is, but now I have to try it fresh to compare. ABV is very well hidden; be careful!

10-26-2011 02:56:15 | More by samie85
Photo of Fenris244


4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

poured into my Duvel tulip

Pours a deep reddish orange, thin white head, little retention, good amount of lacing though. A little hazy but looks great none the less.

Smell is of dark fruits, plum and cherry with, boozy sweetness and some brown sugar and toffee like aromas.

Plum and cherry flavors are there as well, little bits of hop bitterness. Has an earthy quality too it and some sweet toffee and booze on the finish. The flavors balance well and it's never too sweet and the hops never overpower the other flavors, very satisfying to drink
Heavier in body, booze heats up the palate and you can definitely feel it, very enjoyable.

Overall, I'd love to be able to get more of this brew, I look forward to seeing founders in Texas one of these days!

10-21-2011 00:22:35 | More by Fenris244
Photo of Jules11788


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%

2009 bottle opened in 2011

A: Pours a cloudy mahogany-red; pinky-width head that fades quick; medium lacing

S: Tart raisins and figs, sweet malt

T: Like the nose -- sweet malts, raisins, figs, toffee; finishes with a tart maltiness

M: Medium thickness, lightly carbonated

O: This was a really good Old Ale, not as good as Old Stock but still delicious nonetheless.

10-15-2011 17:48:45 | More by Jules11788
Photo of Bendurgin


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

Centennial sent me this one. Thanks Steve, you're a stand up dude. Poured into a snifter. This one pours a clear maple brown with a finger of white head.

Sweet and delicious smelling. Toffee and maple aromas with hints of cinnamon and some spices like cloves. Hints of cedar and honey. Sweet maple flavor here with cinnamon. Sweet and malty here.

The body is heavy and sticky with soft carbonation. A little bit coarse on the finish. Overall this one is pretty outstanding; as are most of the Founders line up.

10-15-2011 02:46:31 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +2%

Poured in to Founder's tulip glass.

A - Medium translucent amber colour with one finger of bubbly off-white head.

S - Caramel, raisins, toffee, brown sugar. Not getting any oak.

T - Caramel, toffee, oak, brown sugar and a touch of vanilla.

M - Medium to full body, chewy. Light carbonation. Great mouth feel.

10-14-2011 04:00:10 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of BarryMFBurton


4.22/5  rDev +5%

Alright, I’ll be honest…I have no idea what an Old Ale is. One thing I do know, though, is that Founders probably does it well. Cheers to trying new styles!

Bottled a little over six months before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED: 04/09/11”).

A: Cool color; a bright, carrot-juice orange. And with a mostly opaque body, it actually looks like carrot juice. Silky, off-white head with light retention. Lacing is sparse, but creamy. Looks thick.

S: Dark fruits first: raisin, peach, and apricot, all in front of a mild alcohol aroma. Malts are big and caramely, with an inescapable undercurrent of grain husk. Breads on the end, mixing with the fruits to form a lovely toast-with-apple-butter scent. A strong, pleasant nose.

T: Syrupy-sweet fruits, dark and strong, lay smooth on the tongue with each sip: fig and raisin on a caramel backdrop. The taste of vanilla and toffee sprawls out in the background, as well as a grainy, hoppy bitterness; it’s a smooth husk and a slight pine tart that comes in quite nicely. A darkly malty, slightly dry flavor drives this aftertaste to a mild end. This is an excellent beer – the flavor combinations are right up my alley.

M: Usually, Founders has some very bubbly brews; luckily, this isn’t one of them. Smooth and thick, this has the perfect drinkability without drawing any attention from the palate.

O: This is an awesome style; some of my favorite flavors in one bottle. If this particular beer is a good representation of an Old Ale, I can assure you that I’ll be attacking this style with full force. Can’t wait for Kaiser Curmudgeon!

10-12-2011 20:03:38 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of Erish


4.3/5  rDev +7%

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass. No freshness date.

A: cloudy cider-colored, pours a caramel-colored head that quickly falls into a thin head with scant lacing. About what I expect from a wood-aged beer of this strength.

S: molasses, vanilla, toffee, dried/ripe fruit; apples, figs, raisins.

T: the caramel sweetness and fruit are thick up front, and the woodsy/vanilla character slowly reveals itself, and finally a lightly mineral bitterness opens up with an herbal and floral hop character, and a slow, boozy alcoholic heat also emerges.

M: Full-bodied, velvety, almost syrupy texture, light carbonation.

O: Is it an Old Ale or Barleywine? Who cares! It is tasty, tasty stuff.

10-12-2011 02:44:18 | More by Erish
Photo of DeltaGolfSierra


2.75/5  rDev -31.6%

Color is a rather unattractive orange-brown, and the lack of any head or lacing doesn't help the appearance. Scents of dark fruits and molasses are nice if a bit weak, and there's a bit of a boozy smell too. Caramel and molasses are up front in the taste, with a punch of booziness in the finish that I don't find particularly pleasant. High pucker factor and plenty of burn going down the throat. This is not one of Founder's better offerings.

10-12-2011 01:13:14 | More by DeltaGolfSierra
Photo of Amesjeep


4.43/5  rDev +10.2%

Appearance - Dark Copper in color with a slight head.

Smell - Amazing smell, light molasses smell, followed by caramel malts, and finishes with an almost Belgian yeast aroma.

Taste - Well balanced flavor, sweet yet defined. Finishes like and old ale should.

Mouthfeel - Smooth with some bite, just the right amount of carbonation for this style of ale

Overall - Well Done!!

Poured into a snifter from 12oz. bottle on 10/7/11, bottled on 04/09/11

10-07-2011 05:29:17 | More by Amesjeep
Photo of manitouman84


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

Pours a hazy a coppery red amber with a one finger head, leaves a thin lacing, descent retention for a high gravity beer. Pours thick as molasses. Aromas are spicy, bready, yeasty, malty and boozy. Slight papery or woody like character to the malt. Many dried fruit flavors, raisin, fig, plum. Lots of bready, and woody malt and caramel flavors. Spicy, boozy, oakey, bits of whiskey linger in the finish. Good rich mouth feel, a bit wet, but malty enough to balance this to make an overall medium bodied beer. Definitely some heat going in and down the hatch. Excellent brew here.

10-06-2011 06:00:03 | More by manitouman84
Photo of cosmicevan

New York

3.98/5  rDev -1%

pretty sure i had reviewed this in the past but when i went to check my review before seeing what a little bit of time had done (bottled april 09 2011) there was none.

a - opened the bottle and filled my E snifter. classic maroon with a hint of red and orange. thin head gone QUICK. murky core with a glow on the edge of the glass.

s - subdued malt. some nuttiness and maple syrup...but very timid. a bit boozy...mostly in the brisk feel it gives my nose when i whiff it.

t - much like the nose a subtle old ale flavoring with a bit of a bittery finish. the heat comes through at first. as the beer warmed, the classic old ale flavors started becoming more pronounced. caramel malts, nutmeg...

m - medium bodied. good carbonation. leaves an alcohol tingle.

o - this is a decent old ale. little bitter. this is a great style for barrel aging and the kaiser curmudgeon...whoa...now THAT'S a beer.

10-06-2011 01:20:12 | More by cosmicevan
Photo of ummswimmin

New Jersey

2.8/5  rDev -30.3%

I had this on tap at a special Founders event at the local bar.

The bar served this in a mini goblet. This beer is the proper tan/brown that you would expect from an old ale. The head was minimal and there was nice alcohol feet.

The foam yielded down to a simple scum on the glass. You could see minimal carbonation on this, which isn't a surprise for the style.

I smell tobacco, caramel, yeast, and some malt. It smelled very rich.

Curmudgeon really fell off with the first taste. There was a ton of alcohol in it. It really wasn't pleasant. You get a little bit of scotch. I had a ton of burn from the alcohol and visibly winced with each sip. The after-taste was all alcohol throughout my mouth.

I really didn't care for this beer. It was surprising since I enjoyed so much Founders in the past.

10-05-2011 00:04:20 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of david18

New York

3.98/5  rDev -1%

I had a number of drafts of this while it was on tap at my local neighborhood bar. Very good beer and a nice strong alternative to all the double ipas out there.

Color was a dark brown with a red hue. A bit hazy and not very carbonated.

Aroma was of both dark fruit and some candy (caramel, etc).

Flavor is quite balanced and features the dark candy flavors as well as fruit and hops. Very easy to drink for the strength.

Overall a good beer that I look forward to hopefully seeing again soon.

10-04-2011 19:34:06 | More by david18
Photo of TK5150


4/5  rDev -0.5%

Most recent vintage, I can only assume.

A- Pours a cloudy, murky (lots of floaties), dark orange amber with a small beige head. Head recedes quickly.

S- Malty, candied orange, oak, estery fruit, a little "fall" spice.

T- Malty, burnt caramel, orange, spicy oak, a little barbeque action, alcohol, biscuity.

M- Fairly full bodied as this is a malty beer with some residual sugar. Moderate to slightly high carbonation.

O- Wouldn't mind having this again if it were cheaper and actually available in my state. I like it. I can tell this one will get better with age.

10-03-2011 22:10:08 | More by TK5150
Photo of pmlondrigan

New York

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Poured kinda hard due to the fact I knew it was an Old Ale. Lots of chunkies and yeast cake, what the hell? Off white head, deep aubern color, floating yeast matter. Pretty ugly except for the uncharicterstic lacing. Aroma of malt forward English yeast, sweet malts, and specialty malt. Some cherry notes on the aroma, but their light. Flavor, really malt forward, some caramel wait no alot of caramel, some light molasses. In addition some phenol like English yeast flavor is present. Thick under-attenuated beer, sweet, thick mouthfeel. And even a little bitter on the finish from some hops. Not bad. In the panthion of Old Ale it isn't a victory but it's ok.

10-02-2011 02:07:14 | More by pmlondrigan
Photo of 57md


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Pours a nice brown with some orange tones. There is very little head on this beer at all. There is not much of a nose to this beer; perhaps one can sense a bit of caramel, but that is it. The taste is rich and malty with an alcohol bite in the finish. The flavors become deeper as the beer warms. I think that this is a strong effort from one of the most consistent breweries in the U.S.

09-29-2011 05:00:28 | More by 57md
Photo of lanamj

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -12.2%

12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A- Nice amber brown color that appears to become lighter in tone as it approaches the edge of the glass from the center. It has a nice white foamy head the dissolves quickly to a minimal lace that holds nicely.

S- Lots of sweet malts, caramel, and booze. A little to hot but calms down as it reaches room temp. I get some sweet terriaki and coconut as well.

T- Sweet malts, caramel and booze again dominate the palate. I feel the booze is heavier on the nose the the flavor. I get some coconut and banana as well.

M- Smooth and thin. The booze is a little hot on the tongue but not more then expected for the ABV. Drinkability on this for me is two and im done.

O- A good old ale that is for sure a solid beer. A little hot and nothing to special on this one, unlike it's Kieser variation, but still a good ale from a great brewery. I think the drinkability for me makes this a food pairing beer or a sipper defiantly not a session beer.

09-29-2011 03:33:05 | More by lanamj
Photo of Dan3279


3.98/5  rDev -1%

Bottled on 4/2/11

Now for some reason I thought that I had written a review about this beer back in June when I first had it. I have one bottle left so I decided to crack it open today for lunch. I poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter glass to find a dark copper - brown body with a cream colored head. The aroma was great with caramel, dried fruits, and a little bready malts. The taste is strong but consistent with the aroma. You get a little bit of heat from the alcohol, the malts hit you hard up front with some hints of sweetness and dried fruits in the middle that quickly give way to a bitter aftertaste.

This is a heavy one and defiantly one that you want to sip and take your time drinking. Though for as heavy as it is, I thought it was on the smooth side with a pinch of carbonation and some stickiness. Like others have said this is a good winter beer and really should be coming out in the late fall instead of the late spring.

09-14-2011 17:57:32 | More by Dan3279
Photo of flagmantho


3.53/5  rDev -12.2%

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: nice orange-brown hue with a ton of haze. Head poured about a finger of frothy tan foam because of a vigorous pour; this subsided quickly, but this was not particularly detrimental to the appearance.

Smell: I don't think I've ever had a "biscuit bomb" quite like this before. It's a bit prickly and spicy to me, since this is among my least-favorite malt characteristics. That said, it's a clean maltiness which I can respect even if I can't appreciate.

Taste: our biscuit bomb continues! Biscuit from the first sip, followed by a dry biscuit middle and a bitter biscuity finish. Bitterness is rock solid, even a little high for an old ale, but good. There's a tiny little diacetyl here, too, which might work better with a sweeter malt profile (butter on biscuits is tasty, except in beer). In no way is this bad, really, but it's just far away from my personal preference. Kind of like an "Imperial Fat Tire".

Mouthfeel: big body with a somewhat decent carbonation. It is okay, but it lacks both creaminess *and* silkiness, at least one of which it ought to have. Still, it is not bland, just ... not inspiring.

Overall: man, I came into this beer wanting to love it, and instead I have rated it dramatically low. If you love a biscuity malt flavor; if Fat Tire is your favorite beer ever; if you ever wonder why they make anything other than Victory malt, then this beer may be for you. It is not, however, for me.

09-12-2011 16:06:51 | More by flagmantho
Photo of doopydoogle

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

A - A cloudy reddish orange amber that leaves little to no head or lace, but can be coaxed into a frothy topping with a good shake.

S - Rich, deep caramel malts with toffee and candie sugar coming through. The grain is complemented by some vanilla and fruity yeasty notes. An almost sage quality is hidden behind the grain while alcohol notes rise above. Similar to a doppelbock.

T - Surprisingly roasty tasting, with some coffe and chocolate flavors coming at first. There is then a bit of almost scotch like character which lingers out to toffee and caramel with a slight bitter that doesn't presume much. Spicy notes give the beer an almost whiskey like quality that are rounded out by plums, figs, and taffy. The beer has a very woody character and is quite smoky all and all. A really interesting profile.

M - Sticky, coating, and slightly carbonated. There is surprisingly little bitter involved, and the sweet malts leave you with a resinous and involved mouthfeel.

O - A really interesting outing. Not sure if its oak-aged, but I wouldn't be surprised. The grains predominate, but there's enough going on behind it to give it a really unique and flavorful character that is highly recommended.

09-12-2011 06:37:53 | More by doopydoogle
Photo of PhageLab


3.48/5  rDev -13.4%

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Cherry mahogany colored brew with a small layer of froth on top. Lacing was quite nice.

S - Brown sugar and toffee dominate the nose, with some caramel malts showing through.

T - Big malty flavor, rich and sugary. Little to no bitterness, but a noticeable alcohol burn is present. Aftertaste reminiscent of cherries.

M - Full bodied ale with a low carbonation level. Very dry.

D - A little too boozy for me, but there are some redeeming qualities. Worth a try.

09-10-2011 22:28:11 | More by PhageLab
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,452 ratings.