1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,527 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,527
Reviews: 1,102
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 136
Gots: 648 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,527 | Reviews: 1,102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Franz4
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

12 oz bottle poured into a chalice 2011 version bottles 4/4/11

A- Pours a dark copper with just a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Beer is slightly translucent.

S- first hit consists of just a touch of heat, followed by some raisin and fig notes. Malt backbone is present, but it seems most of the nose is relatively muted.

T- Gets more complex as it warms. Sweetness up front followed by pine bitterness in the back of the mouth. Neither is overpowering and they are balanced quite nicely. Raisin and plum are also present, as well as just a touch of heat that was also noticeable in the nose.

M- carbonation greets you and then gives way to a pillowy, silky smooth feel that is very, very nice.

O- A very good beer that's a definite sipper. This is very enjoyable now, but I'm also anxiously anticipating how this one might age, if the dark fruits note come out and the heat dies down just a bit this could be a very quaffable brew--still a sipper, but a mighty fine sipper.

Franz4, May 03, 2011
Photo of foogerd
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%

A- Deep orange almost toffee colored relatively clear body with a small tan head.

S- Bready biscuity sweet toasted malts with brown sugar. Some light spice notes.

T- Follows nose but with a quite discernible hops presence, very grassy and herbal qualities which offset the sweetness of the malts. Nice woody oak taste at the finish. Abv is not felt for the most part.

M- Smooth with moderate carbonation.

O- Very tasty old ale I would have liked to have seen less hops. Probably would do great with some aging.

foogerd, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%

Pours a very dark amber and I got a very big frothy off-white head. The aroma is mainly fruity (cherry???) with some medicinal notes (like a dentist's office).

The first thing I taste is sweetness from the malt, then in mid-palate it gives way to alcohol. I can definitely taste the alcohol here. It produces a taste that's more suited to Cisco or some other ``bum wine'' than a beer of this calibre. To be fair, the description of Old Ale on this website describes it as having sharp alcohol characteristics, so perhaps I should be giving it high marks for this instead of criticizing. Still, it's making it difficult for my (lousy) tongue to detect bitterness from the hops or any other elusive flavors that may be present.

Curmudgeon may well be the best representation of this style available on the market today, and I wouldn't know it because I have little experience with Old Ales. Would I buy this again? Probably not. Would I buy any other beers of this style? Possibly, but there are other styles I prefer much more. Still, given Founders' reputation and the quality of their other beers, I'm very glad I tried this one.

deadonhisfeet, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of wvsabbath
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Orange/brown, tan. Lots of floaters. 1/2 inch creamy head. Very cloudy. Looks like a ipa

Smell - Hops, Malts, grassy, earthy. Sugars, alcohol. Some citrus spices.

Taste - Starts very malty, with plenty of booze. Hops are orange and pineapple flavored. There is a oaked barrel flavor thats very present. Plenty of carmel and brown sugar/molasses.

Mouthfeel - Its strong and a mouth wrecker. Medium thickness coats whole mouth with malts, alcohol and sweetness to work over mouth.

Overall - Its a big, strong boozy ale with lots of flavor. Some say its too much but hey, its a near 10% beer and its made by founders, enough said right?. I would swear this had been aged in oak barrels. I must ask is this really a old ale? One and done beer for sure.

wvsabbath, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of deebo
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%

09 from keg

A-Cloudy with some foam that laces and hangs on throughout. Deep orange color.

S-Oak is predominant aroma with this one.

T-Nice flavor but alcohol note is a bit stronger than I'd like.

M-Thick, a substantial drink.

D-Pretty good considering the strength

deebo, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of zrab11
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

A- Pours a nice amber orange color with Nice off white head, and great lacing thoughout

S- Hints of carmel and dried fruit come through with sme boozynees too

T- Has a very sweet molasses taste to it with some alchol flavors mixed in the middle then finish's with a fruity toffee flavor

M-Medium bodied with good carbonation

D-Overall this is a great representation of this style. Maybe alittle much for some people but this beer is very complex and tastes great. wont be having more than 2 of these a night or i might end up passed out on the floor. Very good beer

zrab11, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of abraxel
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

I'm surprised it took me so long to try this beer; I've been a fan of both Founders and old ales for a while.

A - This is an attractive beer. A sort of translucent brownish amber with a pillowy, thick head that clings to the side of the glass and takes forever to subside.

S - Smells like toffee-like malt, but not very sweet. Hints of citrusy hops. For some reason it also reminds me of grapes... but maybe I'm making that part up.

T - Complex, rather sweet malts (lots of toffee and caramel, but so much more than that in a way that's hard to describe) with a fair amount of hoppy bitterness -- the hops blend in at first, then take over halfway through the sip. I really like it before the hops dominate, then it declines to just "good".

M - Not very thick, but it lingers quite a while on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Satisfying, but not stunning.

O - I like it. Not my favorite old ale (but that's unfair considering I don't live far from Kuhnhenn), but it's good. I think I'd like it more if the hops were a bit more subdued so the awesome, complex malts could shine. It makes me think the Kaiser Curmudgeon (this beer aged in bourbon/maple syrup barrels) must be just about perfect...

abraxel, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -0.2%

A - Murky orange pour with a hefty amount of micro sediment floating super still through the whole body. Thin white lacing.

S - A nose full of oak bourbon barrel. Spicy ammonia like whiskey notes. Some malt sweetnes.

T - First thing is sweet oak barrel aged whiskey tang. Warming shot of alcohol and lots of oak and vanilla notes. Sweet throughout and spiced hard alcohol. Malt sweetness mellows the whiskey punch and creates a nice taste.

M - Soft and smooth on the mouth, this beer has some crispness up front. The carbonation is medium.

O - When I smelled this, I was afraid it would have too much bourbon flavor. Im really not fond of whiskey or anything of the flavor but this beer was pleasantly flavorful yet not overbearing in this regard. The sweetness balanced the bite.

BeerForMuscle, Apr 13, 2011
Photo of Davidpgibbons
3.93/5  rDev -2%

Poured into s snifter, with a very nice quick vanish head and a even nicer lacing around the walls
Smells quite boozy almost brandy like with a faint fruity winey aroma
Taste oaky with obvious caramel and molasses characters. Finishes with a biscuit like citrisy aftertase very complimenting
This is a decent old ale and being this years (2011) batch my guess is it will get a little better with age.
9.8 50 ibus

Davidpgibbons, Apr 10, 2011
Photo of ccm414
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured from a 12oz bottle...

A- Pours with little to no head. Very cloudy with much sediment. Almost a brown/amber color.

S- Caramel is the first scent that comes across. Some dried fruits are also noticeable. I get some light peanut smells, as well.

T- Taste much molasses and caramel malts. I also get MUCH black cherry and a lot of 'brandy-like' flavors. A slight bitter finish, but not much on the back end besides the light alcohol warmth.

M- A medium bodied brew with very little carbonation. Dry on the palate with warming from the alcohol.

D- Not very drinkable, definitely a slow drinker with this one, especially at the 9.8%abv. This would definitely go well on a cold night at a fire.


ccm414, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of eclaycamp
4.05/5  rDev +1%

As I'm mulling the fact that I will likely be snowed in tomorrow, I figured I may as well reach for something to hopefully warm me up. On a recent trip to Kansas City I was excited to find some Founders. I picked up a sixer of their Old Curmudgeon. This beer pours a deep orange to brown, and is apparantly bottle conditioned. Who knew. (I did not). So the color is a little murky but I blame that more on my ameaturish pour than anything else. Not a lot of head. Smells sweet, with dark molasses and brown sugar undertones. Taste is hefty, with a very very thick mouthfeel and clearly apparant alcohol level. The amount of hops present in the beer makes it taste almost like a Barleywine, as opposed to an Old Ale as it claims to be. Beer lends itself to meandering, as it's more of a sipper than something you want to go back to. More of a "one and done" type to be enjoyed at the end of the night.

eclaycamp, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of Shrews629
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%

Appearance - An amber/orange/copper color. Can not see through this beer. Very small head that was an off white color. Probably due to the high alcohol content that the head was so small. Had some decent legs after each sip.

Smell - A sweet nose of dried fruit. Some caramel and some nuttiness reminiscent of peanut butter fudge. Very nice. A few notes of alcohol. Similar to a brandy or wine. Very complex and very well balanced.

Taste - A sweet molasses flavor combined with caramel malt. I'm also getting some dark fruit. Something similar to black cherries. The brandy type alcohol flavors are there, but they are not tart or overbearing. The nuttiness is not very prominent in the taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium/full mouthfeel. Chewy. Somewhat smooth. A very nice bit of alcohol warmth all the way through. Nicely dry. Leaves more than enough on the palate.

Drinkability - This is an excellent beer. It's a sipper, however and not conducive to a high drinkability standard. Very complex. This would go well on a cold night while reading a book. I, personally would not want to have more than one of these at a time. Just a bit too strong for me.

Shrews629, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of FanofHefe
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

Served on-tap in a tulip. Amber body with some red tint. Good one finger head that leaves plenty of lacing.

The aroma is pretty faint. A little bready malt and a note of fruit. Not a great set up.

Fortunately the flavors surpass the aroma. Sweet caramel and brown sugar blend with some spicy notes. A little citrus and good biscuity malt finish.

The alcohol is definitely noticeable but doesn't detract. Medium body and appropriate carbonation. Very solid offering and enjoyable.

FanofHefe, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of godfathermg57
2.93/5  rDev -26.9%

On tap at hunahpu's day

A: Deep red with a thin head. Looked like it should have been a good drink...

S: Lots of honey and alcohol. Little hints of fruit

T: Not very good. I definitely taste honey but also wood, alcohol, and viney taste that does not taste good.

M: I guess it's good enough. Not enough to make up for the taste though.

D: If you like the taste then I guess drinkable. For me I had to labor.

godfathermg57, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of Jdmpolk
4/5  rDev -0.2%

A- A vibrant creamy amber with a misty head but persistent lacing

S Winey almost syrupy sweet aroma. Also, floral possibly plum hints.

T- Amidst the myriad of flavor chocolate and honey notes. Spicy hints hit the edge of your tongue.

M- Fluffy and creamy. The alcohol makes itself know with a slow constant burn.

D- Overall this was a very enjoyable ale. the mouthfeel was the most interesting part of this beer. Also, the alcohol can sneak up on you if you have a few of these.

Jdmpolk, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.85/5  rDev -4%

Aromas are intially light with bready and biscuity maltiness; a slight amount of fusel alcohols. As this warms, however, much more emerges. You can detect some nougat and caramels; almost dead on for a Milky Way candy bar.
The tastes begin with brown sugar and treacle/molasses; quite typical for the style. There is a hop presence, bitterness and flavors, but they are not decernable over the malt flavors. Slightly citrusy and earthy.
Mouthfeel is quite full with adequate carbonation. Overall this is a good example of an under-appreciated style of beer, if you purchase a fresh bottle I would recommend letting it cellar for a little because the alcohol was slightly detectable. Founders knows how to make strong beers well that's for sure.

claspada, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%

on tap at RnH in nyc. served in a tulip glass.

Pours a syrupy clouded burnt orange color with darker brown hues. A thinner white head fades quickly, leaving a faint layer of film and hardly any lacing.

Plenty of burnt sugar in the nose with caramel, thick breadyness, and molasses. Softer fruit flavors and lighter hop bitterness with an alcohol flair.

Begins with a bite of hop bitterness, quickly followed by layers of syrupy sweetness. Burnt sugar, caramel, and molasses all swirl together for a fairly rich, sweet base. Thick malts with boozy warmth. Another note of pine hoppiness towards the finish with some more heat.

Full bodied, lighter carbonation, sticky and syrupy on the tongue. Drinks pretty well, although its definitely a bit on the warm and sweet side of things.

xnicknj, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of EricCioe
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%

This one year old bottle pours deep, deep copper, and even an aggressive pour yields no head and no lace. It's hazy with some particles just hanging out, not moving at all. On the nose there are vanilla, sweet bready malts, prunes, and some slight booze. Nice to see a big barleywine-type beer in America made that doesn't taste like a cousin of a DIPA. In the mouth, a huge body carries down a slightly prickly breadiness with some vanilla and oak notes. The finish is quite long, mostly alcohol and sweet bread up on the front of the tongue. This is a nightcap for me, but for that purpose it's quite good.

EricCioe, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of nsabo
4.33/5  rDev +8%

I first tried this beer at 6 months and the oak was belligerently obvious and far too sweet. Now at 9 months, it is quite yummy, though I can't help but wish I'd squirreled it away a bit longer. Brandy, dry oats, caramel, a tiny bit of anise. I'd like the malts to stand out a bit more, right now I'm getting that oaked-vanilla taste lingering in my mouth and the malts in the background, whereas I want them in opposite roles with the malts nestled snug above the oak... a short time did wonders for the beer, with patience this could be an excellent old ale.

nsabo, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of mavbrew
4/5  rDev -0.2%

A: Very little head despite a strong pour. Has a hazy copper color and a small, cream colored head.

S: The smell of bourbon barrels is apparent as soon as I pour this beer. Also has a sweet malty scent to it with a bit of alcohol as well.

T: The taste is sweet, caramel malts and a bit of honey are the main flavors up front. The oak barrels come through as well with some alcohol bursting through in the finish.

M: Full bodied with light carbonation. Very boozy mouthfeel.

D: Another quality brew from Founders. It's hard to find anything that I don't like from them. The oak barrels are a nice touch giving this beer some nice flavor. Aging the remaining 3, we will see how they turn out.

mavbrew, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of daledeee
3.93/5  rDev -2%

The name is enough to interest me.

Poured a very cloudy orange brown with a white head and not much lace.

Nose had some malt but too boozy.

Taste is pretty hoppy with malt, sweetness and some citrus. The finish is quite creamy and the most interesting facet of this beer. High alcohol but easy to drink.

daledeee, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of Spider889
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%

Thanks to msulinski for this bottle. Not sure why I've never seen this in OH (sent to me from PA, and I saw it while in Chicago last month).

Live review.

First thing I noticed was that the cap pried off too easily. Wait, is that glue gunk around the lip of the bottle? No... huh? Screw-off... seriously? Is this old, or old habit for this beer? A Founders first for me, at least.

My second notion is that there's very little carbonation going on here. With a tall pour it get a slow-to-rise head of cream colored bubbles that dissipate much more quickly than they appeared. The beer itself is a hazy copper color in my snifter. Looks like this one will be leaving some splotchy residuals but no real lace to speak of...

The third and most prominent thing I noticed (upon pouring) was the smell - thick and sweet bourbon. Ahh, Founders, your barrel-aging program is predictably recognizable, and yet about as good as it possibly gets. I am immediately reminded of Backwoods Bastard. Vanilla, lots of oak, sweet but not alcoholic bourbon notes are most predominant. The malt is also very apparent - more so than in Backwoods Bastard (which I cannot help but continually compare each aspect of this beer to now). Light chocolate and maple waft in and out along with sweet pipe smoke.

The flavor is also similar to Backwoods, but not entirely the same. Curmudgeon is frankly not as potent, and therefor, not as inviting for me. Still, plenty of flavor going on here. The bourbon is the front-runner - as in Backwoods, Curmudgeon has a flavor profile built around the barrel aging rather than the reverse. Sweet toffee and vanilla play with boozy bourbon. This is also much more bitter than I would have expected. Very smooth, but with a bite on the swallow.

The mouthfeel is smooth - too smooth. This beer borders on flat, which takes an appropriately low carbonation level for this style too far imo. Very dry as well.

I like this, but then, it's hard not to enjoy anything Founders puts into their barrels. But as stated numerous times in this review, Curmudgeon is very similar to Backwoods Bastard. So much so, that I would be happy to take a Backwoods over this any and every time. Good beer, but not great. But hey, Founders has that covered. ;-)

Spider889, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%

Dark honey colored, light beige head that dissipates quickly into a film and leaves a few bubbles along the way.

Malty, sweet, citrus, juicy fruit, hint of booze.

Malty, nutty, sweet, but not too sweet, juicy sweet citrus fruits, hint of bitterness and booze.

Creamy, pretty clean, rich, full bodied. Carbonation is good and on the very low end.

Well balanced, nice Old Ale and exceptionally drinkable in my opinion.

EgadBananas, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%

Why, oh, why has it taken me so long to grab one of these? Heaven knows I've been eying it up long time, coveting it. (sigh) I gotta get a 4-pack of this ole shit.

Pale tawny hue, rich glow, with plenty specks of sediment. That's fine. 1/8" head - gone quick.

Damn wonderful aroma - toffee, caramel, and toasty crystal malt - rich, dense maltiness - with a sweet liqueur booziness pushing it all up into my noseholes, lathering my brain.

Sometimes old ales do, but this doesn't immediately recall a barleywine. Strong British pale all the way. Toffee, booze, sweet dessert wine (not vinous/red/port) highlight the flavors. Assertively malt forward, which is great. And this is the kind of barrel-conditioning I can get behind - the faint essence of oak lingers throughout. Bourbon, be gone!

I don't taste the molasses they mention having included, but it could have certainly contributed to the mouthfeel. Speaking of which, while sporting a micro drop of dry, musty oxidation, is nearly silky smooth, falling quite short of syrupy. Goddamn does it massage the palate while conjuring one of the most soothing warming feelings I've been treated to. The booze is softened expertly by the malt and semi-viscous body. They balanced the shit out of this ale. A winner!

Bouleboubier, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%

This one pours a dark honey-brown color with a fingers worth of off white colored head. Leaves walls of lacing as the head dissipates. The nose brings notes of bready, dark, caramel and sweet malts with the high ABV well masked. The taste follows the nose quite closely here. Sweet caramel, roasted toffee, bready malts. 0 hop characteristics. No bitterness. The mouthfeel is creamy and fulfilling as it coats the palate.

Bottom Line: This brew is very well balanced and offers some great sweet tastes that aren't seen in many other brews. The intensity and richness make this one a sipper but with the superbly masked ABV, this can be hard to do. I do wish it was cheaper but you get what you pay for 10 fold here with Curmedgeon.

ChugginOil, Feb 11, 2011
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,527 ratings.