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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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3,568 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,568
Reviews: 1,103
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 137
Gots: 664 | 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: 3,568 | Reviews: 1,103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

BarryMFBurton, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of Erish
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Erish, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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.

DeltaGolfSierra, Oct 12, 2011
Photo of Amesjeep
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Amesjeep, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of manitouman84
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

manitouman84, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

cosmicevan, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of ummswimmin
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

ummswimmin, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of david18
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

david18, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of TK5150
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

TK5150, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of pmlondrigan
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

pmlondrigan, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of 57md
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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.

57md, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of lanamj
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

lanamj, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of Dan3279
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Dan3279, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of flagmantho
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

flagmantho, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of doopydoogle
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

doopydoogle, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of PhageLab
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

PhageLab, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of Vierenner
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice. As I continue to explore sweeter beers, I stumbled across this one perusing other reviews. My focus has been stouts/porters, trying to find best of breed in this category (in my opinion!). This one came to my attention based upon reviews I read. Perhaps I just stumbled on a unique Old Ale ... but this is right up may alley. Has all the sweetness I like, minus the hop bite of course. Guess I need to expand from stouts/porters into a new category!

Vierenner, Sep 10, 2011
Photo of SkipWeathers
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Depth of flavors really interesting. I am tasting a lot of sweetness, specifically cherry-vanilla and caramel. Whopping alcohol is apparent, with an astringent note. Minimal bitterness. Aroma is boozy caramel and butterscotch. A little syrupy. Appearance is cloudy, and muddy, like liquid clay. Not for the novice ale drinker.

SkipWeathers, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of mocktm
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/21/2011, into a pint.

Dark amber red in appearance, hazy with little to no head, pretty lousy carbonation as well. Looks thick, syrupy and viscous.

I'm having a really hard time getting past the booze on this, although there are faint hints of burnt sugar, molasses and some raisins. However, the booze are a really dominating presence.

As with the nose, heavy booze with some caramel and vanilla sweetness on the finish. A bit of smoke and woodiness as well, finishing hot from the alcohol with no signs of hop bitterness to be found. Age would probably be very kind to this one.

Definitely full bodied and rather thick. Combined with the booziness, this is a sipper all the way.

Not a huge fan of this one, but with some age, maybe the booze will fade and the malt can become more prevalent to create a better balance. Probably my least liked beer I've had from Founders.

mocktm, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of Holland
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark amber brown color, clear pour. Very little head on it, and small lacing with a thin, spotty layer on top. The lacing stays and gets better with warmer temperature.

S: caramel, molasses, fruity esters, raisins, huge malts - no detection of alcohol.

T: maybe it's too cold, but there isn't as much taste as I hoped. Taste contains some bitter hops, malt, fruity esters, and smooth caramel. I just taste the oak since I'm looking for it.

M: wonderfully smooth, with plenty of carbonation. This is impressive, and really brings out both the caramel, fruits, and then bitter hops.

O: solid, drinkable beer. It's not at all cloying. About right at about $10 for a 4 pack.

Holland, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of brystmar
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled April 2011.

Hazy, deep amber pour yields a finger of tiny bubbled head. Not the best retention, but a gentle swirl revives the fizz.

Aroma shows surprising depth and complexity. Dark fruits, caramelized sugars, sweet malts, chocolate(?), traces of booze, and hints of spice. Granted, I shouldn't be surprised by anything Founders makes anymore, but hey it happens.

The sticky, full body brings with it oodles of caramel, oak, and fig. Alcoholic warmth as it descends. Interesting addition of baker's chocolate throws a small twist into a typically formulaic style. Would love to see what a few years of age does to this brew.

Really easy drinking here; other reviewers' claims of strong, biting booze don't hold true for me. Completely delicious -- I'll be buying another 4pk to cellar.

brystmar, Sep 03, 2011
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
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,568 ratings.