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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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

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3,547 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,547
Reviews: 1,103
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 135
Gots: 656 | FT: 48
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: 3,547 | Reviews: 1,103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of azdback
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Dark ruby red colored and unfiltered. Not a lot of carbonation bubbles and the head says the same thing, very small and no retention. Lace isn't sticking.

Smell is sweet caramel and burnt sugars. Alcohol and medium roasted malts. Quite nice!

Taste is like chocolate and caramel nougat. With a huge alcohol burn after. The sweets are really fantastic. I wasn't expecting any chocolate or dark malts to this, but it is an interesting twist to an old ale/barleywine. As this warms there is even some coffee and charred wood. Really nice!!

Mouth is rich and chewy. Quite complex all the way to the end. The layers of this are so fantastic. Sticky sweet to alcohol burn are quite remarkable.

Overall I was very surprised by this. Kind of a barley wine meets the roasts of a barrel aged stout. That is a bit dramatic but not far off. Thanks to davesway10 for this extra.

azdback, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of gfreed
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is basically a somewhat dulled version of Founders' Backwoods Bastard, which itself is one of the finest bourbon Scotch ales made in the US. OC has most of the same features of BB-- heavy on the apricots and butterscotch, with just enough oak to make everything fat, round and happy-- only less by about 25%. But then, this is a good deal sweeter as well. If you like Founders' Dirty Bastard or Backwoods Bastard, you'll like Old Curmudgeon. For me, it's a tad sweet but still nice to be drinking as I sit in a small house on the beach in Truro, MA, watching hurricane Irene blow north. Things could be worse.

gfreed, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of mechamifune
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep copper with little to no head. Very slight lacing. Looks very clean in the glass, but probably a little more resin-y than I would like.

Smell is boozy up front with a little bit of dark fruit malt sweetness in there as well. A complex smell, and while I found it generally pleasant, I can't say it hit me in the way a great DIPA or RIS does.

Taste is in line with the smell. The booze comes out up front and then the dried fruit and sweetness/vanilla type notes start to hit. A nice taste. Finishes a little hot and with no real bittnerness to speak of.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and full, making this a very slow-sipping type beer. I found myself strugging as I drank it as I felt for sure that this tasted like an oak-aged beer (and thinking that I read that it wasn't)...only to later read that this was indeed oak aged, so i guess there is a small victory for my palate in that. I think its a good mouthfeel for the style, so I'm kind of surprised to read some of the negative notes about it in other reviews.

Overall this is a pleasant slow-sipping beer. This style in general is not a favorite of mine, but I think this is a good representation. For price point though, I'd rather get a great DIPA or RIS. Still, if you are looking to introduce yourself to the style or are a fan of the style, I would pick this one up.

mechamifune, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of ONUMello
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.
A: Burnt orange color; 1/2 finger head that quickly dissipates.
S: Toasted malt, caramel; improves dramatically as it warms, more fruit especially prunes come out.
T: Initial caramel and toffee notes lead into raisin/prune.
M: It may be influence from reading other notes, but this does almost come across as liquid gelatin. Hard to describe- not thick or thin, light or heavy, pleasant or off-putting.
O: Without looking through my notes to be sure, I think this is my first old ale. I will search for more in this style, and am glad I tried this, but personally this particular bottle is not for me.

ONUMello, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky brown color with a very small head upon pouring, but it quickly reduces to some sparse bubbles on top. Little bits of particulate floating in this one. Decent lacing. with some forming on the opposite side I was drinking from.

S: Deep caramel, some butter, butterscotch, raisins, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is full of caramelized malt and dark fruits, mostly raisins, but also a little bit of fig and prune. Not as much alcohol as I was expecting based on the aroma. Slight butterscotch flavor on the backend.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather smooth with a good level of carbonation. Slightly sticky finish.

O: A slow sipper for sure. Pretty good, but not my favorite. Probably the first Founders beer I haven't really liked.

mdaschaf, Aug 23, 2011
Photo of Lauthaha
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a brandy glass.

Appearance: Beer pours a dark copper color bordering on brown. Head is a light tan color, and very foamy. It recedes to a pangaea-like formation on the surface of the beer.

Smell: Hawaiian sweet bread, some gentle molasses. Great malt character. Some subtle purple fruit. What surprises me is that the extremely high ABV is virtually undetectable in the nose. I'm intrigued.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Crazy thick maltiness, with some nearly-cloying sweetness which is nearly balanced by the ester character of the brew. I can imagine myself in some 1700s pub on the shoreline, barking about the weather. This is heavy-duty. Finishes pretty wet, but the aftertaste is a gentle, beautiful sweetness. Undeniably well balanced for the strength.

Overall: I like it! It dances on the edge of Cloying Cliff but never crosses the rim. Any sweeter and it would have been terrible...as it is, amazing.

Lauthaha, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of Guden
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Looks perfect. Ruby amber with a one inch head that only fades after drinking and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Some light cherry and raisin with a bit of toffee mixed in. Not overly strong but nice and refreshing.

T- Meh. The nose is entirely lost in hops. The hoppiness comes on with piney, herbal and earthy notes with prickly deep bitterness on the end. Not what I look for in an old ale, this one might be better after a few more years. As it warms some cherry character becomes more prominent and a bit of alcohol presence develops but still not hot.

M- Pretty smooth and creamy but the carbonation is a bit high which, when mixed with the hoppiness, comes off with an impression far from what I had hoped for or really enjoyed.

D- I didn't hate this beer but it was far from what I was going for in an Old Ale. The hops really cover up most of the complexity that it might be able to have, I would like to see how it ages but I don't know where to get a bottle.

Guden, Aug 19, 2011
Photo of TheBrewo
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was served on tap at Blind Tiger in New York, NY. It arrived in a tulip glass, and sported a rich red-brown color with very little head or lacing. The beer appeared a bit hazy, but no sediment was noted, while carbonation appeared minimal. The aroma began with big fusel alcohols, and some mild diacetyls. Tropical fruit was also noted along with some mild metallic yeast, and a definite caramel malt presence. As we sipped, the first thing noticed was a dark and very sweet malty character. Buttery diacetyls were also present here, which moved us into the middle where the main components were caramel sweetness and rich grains with a sour twang. Alcohol spiciness also began to creep in here, bringing the flavor to the end, where we were given honeycomb sweetness, sugary hops, and a darker porter/stout malt character. The aftertaste breathed with sweet caramel and grains, and a definite booze presence. The body was medium, and the carbonation was medium to high. There is nice coating to each sip, and a decent slurp is noted, helping to develop the deeper, thicker aspects of the beer. The abv was appropriate and the beer drank as more of a sipper.

Overall, our favorite thing about this beer was that it tasted very much like a dubbel, but with a more complex nature about the aroma. The nose was perfectly balanced to allow for the sweet components to shine through over top of the bitter roasted malt presence. Where this beer lost points was in the over the top sweetness. It is not that the sweetness was so offensive that it made the beer undesirable, however, by the end of the glass it did prove a bit overwhelming.

TheBrewo, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of StayWounded
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice color, reddish brown, ruby. Very cloudy, can see the carbonation. Head had to be coaxed out. Small and dissipated quickly.

S: Not a whole lot of smell, what's there is very nice. Sweet smell. Little in the hop department.

T: Very nice. Thoroughly makes up for lack of smell and head. Very sweet at the front, sweeter fruits (perhaps apricot and cherry), ends with a burnt toffee. Surprising lack of heat for the abv. Will definitely drink again.

Mouthfeel: No heat, but it leaves you feeling refreshed. Not too thick, not too thin. Very nice consistency.

Overall: Strongly in favor of this beer, not familiar with this style but would rate this as a strong 4.

StayWounded, Aug 15, 2011
Photo of GregSVT
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a very hazy reddish brown with an off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves some tiny lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is full of caramel, toffee, earthy hops, and bready malt.

T: The taste mimics the nose with caramel, toffee, bitter hops, and a bit of an earthy taste.

M: The feel is medium bodied and a bit chewy.

O: Tasty beer and something I'd like to try again. The barrel aged version is probably fantastic if this is the base beer.

GregSVT, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of Naugros
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured aggressively into a DFH snifter-like thingy glass. I guess you can call it a goblet, since it's not quite a chalice. Anyway, I was rewarded with a pretty nice head, especially for an old ale that was cream-colored and promised to stick to the glass.

You get a whiff or raisin as soon as you pop the top, but in the glass it changes to more of a rum note. Some sense of red wine and smoky molasses. Cocoa is also present as the malts exert a roasted smell. Very rich and complex nose. Very nice.

The taste disappoints after enjoying the smell. The flavors are sweet, but weaker than I expected and don't carry all the complexities of the nose. Rum/raisin is still present, but cocoa is gone. The malts take on more of a burnt flavor rather than roast. It's as if someone overcooked the sugar and burnt the caramel. I know, I've done it and this is what it tasted like.

It does have that sort of old leather couch and side table with smoking pipe in an ashtray feel to it. Only way I can describe it. You either get it or you don't. But the mouthfeel is too light for an old ale, but it is pretty smooth. There is little presence of alcohol warmth. It makes it a lot more drinkable than most old ales, but that's not the goal of an old ale. You're meant to sip these.

Since the body can thin out as it ages I don't see this improving much with cellaring. Maybe the complex aromas in the nose would impart into the flavor...that would be a plus...and mellow out that sensation of burnt malts. I do really like this beer, but not as an old ale. If they didn't have "Old Ale" written on the label I would have given a higher rating as I would not have reviewed against the style.

Naugros, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of brewmudgeon
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5


a 4-4.5 generally clear rosy amber. one inch creamy head slowly settles to a cap, decent lace. a very typical founders look.

s 3-3.5 rather gentle on the nose. cherries, light breadyness. the cherry unfortunately has sort of an artificial, cough drop quality. also a fair amount of alcohol in the nose.

t 2.5-3 for a big beer this is very delicate, kinda belgian trippel-like. that applies mostly to the mouthfeel, really, but the mouthfeel dominates the flavor in this one. if it weren't for the ultra creamy mouthfeel, the alcohol notes would boldly overwhelm, not being accompanied by other bold flavors to tame them. there is a hint of toastyness, a touch of the cherry coughdrop essence, not a lot going on. pretty disappointed in this one.

m 4-4.5 delicate and creamy, so soft it's like a latex pillow. not what i was expecting from an old ale, but nice in its way. if only it had better flavor embedded in it.

o 2.5 had hoped for much more. not expecting age to work miracles, but i will wait and see with the other bottles.

brewmudgeon, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of MikeyMikee
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first old ale, I'm pretty excited.

12oz. bottle poured into an Ithaca Sampling glass, poured at fridge temp.

A- Hazy copper color, with a small quickly dissipating head. Descent lacing.

S- Heavy caramel and molasses, slight orange rind and maybe a little bit of tart cherry.

T- Honey up front with some caramel, brown sugar and toffee. Theres an earthy, woodyness as well which is awesome. Some clean citrus hops that nicely integrates itself and is then cut by slight ethanol in the finish.

M- Awesome! Great Carbonation, viscous, chewy, sticky...its really all around awesome. There's a little bitterness as well which balances it out and there is also some warming from the alcohol.

O- Really great beer, especially the rich mouthfeel. The hop-malt balance is near perfect. The only problem is I drank it way too fast, I could easily drink a few of these in a single night. Definitely worth seeking out.

MikeyMikee, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of JWU
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my .4L mug.

A- A deep, cloudy amber with hints of orange. Thin white head that retains well.

S- Deep carmel malts, with an almost fruity character

T- Certainly the best part of this brew. Deep maltiness, the sweetness of the molasses is a fantastic flavor mid-sip, hints of chocolate around this point as well. Hops are absolutely perfectly balanced. Gets a bit boozy on the back end and finishes quite like a good whiskey, with oaky notes.

M- much heavier in the mouth than the appearance would suggest, but I really enjoy that part about this brew.

Overall, my favorite "old ale" because the complexities in the taste aren't overrun by the hops, or even by the bitterness (which Founders can do on certain brews) Top notch brew.

JWU, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of secondtooth
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque amber-orange, with a fine whitish-tan head. Attractive fence-row lace.

Aroma is malty, fruity.

Flavor profile is strong. I get some burnt, almost peaty, earthy tones up front. And a dry, whiskey-like alcohol finish.

Quite tasty, but definitely a sipper.

secondtooth, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of smbslt
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle (six months older than my first tasting) into a Duvel tulip. Thin head which exited quickly. Cloudy with quite a bit of particulates. A nice ruddy deep caramel color.

Smelled of burnt sugar, leather and a bit like an old bar -

Taste - very fortified distilled liquor taste but not and accompanying alcohol taste

Mouthfeel - Alcohol spread throughout mouth, throat and even felt a sensation in my eustachian tubes (I swear) but not the typical burning sensation - more like a vapor action. Very interesting.

Overall still a difficult style suited to a different type of beer drinker.

smbslt, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is mildly hazy and appears orange to copper in color. The head is off white hued, measuring approximately an inch thick. A substantial amount of lacing is left on the glass.

The aroma offers malt, alcohol, oak, vanilla, banana, and rum.

The flavor is strong and complex. As prefaced in the nose, alcohol, malt, and banana are the prevalent flavors. The beer is still a bit hot, and could likely benefit from some cellar time.

The feel is medium-heavy on the palate, with alcohol content noticeable throughout. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall, a decent brew from a great brewery. This one is a good candidate for sharing a few ways.

Huhzubendah, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of sulldaddy
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampling a cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. The bottle has been in my cellar for about 2 years.
With a gentle pour there is a creamy eggshell white head of 1 cm that fades quickly to a thin ring edge layer and wispy islands in the beer.
The color is a rich mahogany hue with deep garnet highlights on the sides of the glass.
Thick with particles from the pour even with an effort to decant, the particles dont settle readily and are suspended as if they are prehistoric insects in amber.
Aroma is rich malt with molasses and bourbony booze notes mixing with a bit of vanilla and brown sugar. I dont get any hops but do expect this to be a sipping beer!
First sip reveals a smooth creamy textured body with almost no carbonation. Very easy to drink on the physical side, and with the flavor kickin in it only enhances my thirst.
I get brown sugar and molasses, some vanilla and a bit of plum and raisin fruitiness. No hops and even the ~10% booze is very well hidden. This beer is drinking like nectar and I wish I had more of it to consume. This is a rich malty brew that I am glad to have sampled and would purchase again on the spot. Highly recommended, maybe even age for a year, this bottle is excellent!

sulldaddy, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of nandemo1
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark hazy copper. Tried giving it an aggressive pour when I saw minimal head developing, but still couldn't get much more than a light lacing across the top.

Ice cold, this is a delicious molasses bomb, in both smell and taste. As it warms up the nose get some fruity/flowery notes on top of caramel, but there wasn't much change in the taste Sweetness is there, but it's definitely offset by bittering hops. There is a small alcohol burn on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is heavy and sticky.

This is my second Curmudgeon, and I've enjoyed it both times. A nice sipping beer for a nightcap. I am going to age a few to see if any additional flavors develop over time.

nandemo1, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of SFC21
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with bottled on date of 4/8/11. Poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Beautiful opaque, burnt siena colored body. virtually no head, though, even with a rather heavy pour.

S - Alcohol leads, but getting some figs, caramel, and dark cherry.

T - The alcohol really dominates the taste, with some hints of dark fruits, burnt toast, and baking chocolate.

M - Quite thick, almost syrupy.

O - Not bad but not great, especially at $16.99/4 pack. Pales in comparison to North Coast Old Stock.

SFC21, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of r0nyn
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter. Shared with fellow BAs infi, brun, NYManc and several others.

A coppery amber hue fills the glass, hazy but not cloudy, with a touch of gold around the edges. A modest quarter-inch head rises briefly before receding into the surface of the beer, leaving some loose, spotty lacing. From the first inhalation, the hefty booziness is evident, as it permeates the nose, but thankfully doesn't mask the rest of the aromas. Sweet and peaty nuances are detectable, ostensibly from the molasses, along with light hints of caramel and a little hint of vanilla.

Starts off with a mild bitter punch from the hops, followed by that distinct oak flavoring then... nothing. No alcohol, no malts, no anything. That's it. I might as well have been drinking water. There's a bit of a dry smack left on the tongue, but little else to remind you that you've been drinking a beer, one with close to 10% ABV, no less. Really quite in conundrum. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with the aforementioned dryness, but that's really about it. Not quite as ephemeral as the taste, but there you go.

Old Curmudgeon is a mixed bag for me. Looks good, smells nice, but just kinda mails it in tastewise. Not sure if that's what it should always taste like, but given what other people have said, it might be that I had a dodgy bottle. Will have to revisit this brew properly some other day.

r0nyn, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of CuttDeez
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A - A deep hazy crispy burnt orange body with slightly brighter orange hues. The head is small but thick and frothy with lace.

S - Dark sweet carmalized fruits. There are some candy toffee notes as well.

T & M & D - Big malt toffe candy and some dark fruits on the back end. Good alchohol warmth throughout the mouth. The beer is medium body and coating on the palate. Despite being alchohol warming the beer doesn't sit too heavy.

O - A great beer with deep sweet flavors and character. My only negative is it is more of a cold weather beer than the hot summer night I enjoyed it on.


CuttDeez, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of BigPlay1824
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

A: Deep amber color that is entirely hazy, pours with very little head, leaves slight foamy lacing
S: smell reminiscent of deep oak or whiskey, also slight undertones of licorice
T: very strong taste, bit of an alcohol burn, depth similar to a barleywine, whiskey undertones
M: thick on the palate, slight alcohol burn
O: very unique taste quite enjoyable, has intense depth that is surprisingly not off-putting

BigPlay1824, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of HardTarget
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A hazy peach glass holds a thin blond head and collar that gives a little lace and shows a little leg. Funny, it looks thick and viscous, moves slowly in the glass when I swirl.

Smell: Slaps the nose with a heavy alcoholic hand. Deep malt and a bit of peat. An earthy hop leaf quality; English, maybe a touch of leather.

Taste: A flash of a cola taste before the malt bomb goes off. Middle is sweet but finishes with a bitter edge of the earthy hops. Heavy flavors melt together to keep the malt from going cloy. Alcohol shows up in the finish, I can feel it evaporating into my sinuses.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body with some chew and a lingering coat. Carbonation is low but gives a lively feel.

Overall: Great Old Ale, pretty much bang on in style (oh look, it's a BJCP example). Warming, full flavor makes for a great sipper, even on a summer's eve.
Cheers to Illudium for the sample!

HardTarget, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of AgentMunky
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a St Bernardus goblet. Bottled 9 April 2011.

A: Very thin head disappears completely in seconds. Reddish beer, absolutely orange in direct light. Translucent, but not see-through.

S: Old ale sweet-funky yeast. Sour-pleasant. Fresh cherries?

T: Whoah, weird. A strong flavour, overpowered by alcohol. Otherwise a nice maintaste, full of spiced raisins, rum-soaked caramel malts and...concord grapes? Nice beer.

M: Smooth, with a touch of carbonation. Tart on the endtaste with a sweet, substantial maintaste.

O: Nice beer that gets nicer as it warms. Lots of caramelised malts balance the inherent funkiness of the style. Another success from Founder's. Recommended.

AgentMunky, Jul 19, 2011
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,547 ratings.