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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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3,618 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,618
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 140
Gots: 683 | FT: 47
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: 3,618 | Reviews: 1,105 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rundocrun
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a medium brown color, but glows almost iridescently amber when held to the light. A finger of off-white head forms but fades quickly. Small amounts of lacing on the glass. Bubbles drift up very slowly indicating this is an uber-viscous ale.

S - Smells of mild spices, figs, and a boozy whiskey-barrel vanilla aroma. There are also light hints of cocoa and an estery presence reminiscent of overripe bananas.

T - Sweet dark chocolate and bitter cocoa up front mixing with a heavy, syrupy dark fruit flavor (raisins, figs, prunes). Booze and esters come through the middle and provide a warming sensation. Bitterness arrives toward the finish and it is somewhere between hoppy and coffee-like. Just enough to prevent this old ale from being a sugar bomb. Becomes much more boozy as the beer warms.

M - Thick body. Syrupy to the last sip. Mild carbonation. Perfect amount for the style. Leaves the mouth feeling sticky.

rundocrun, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of Bfarr
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark red amber and thin tan foamy/frothy head with good retention. Yeast and sweet caramel barley aromas. Very malty vanilla, caramel, and nutty with a slight hop note. Alcohol warming with a slight taste. Creamy lactose finish. Very silky but thick and creamy mouthfeel.

An excellent blend of flavor, sweet with a light hop balance. Alcohol actually adds to the taste rather than detracts. Creamy taste really adds a nice dimension without distracting or overshadowing other flavors. Aroma is good but nothing too special like a barleywine. It also reminds me of Old Stock ale, though I may have enjoyed OS a little more.

Bfarr, Jul 15, 2011
Photo of zaphodchak
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mild pour yields a miserly quarter-finger head with some interesting patterned surface memory. A bigger repour makes a finger of creamy offwhite head. Body is cloudy red-brown, amber highlights. Decent lacing.

Smell is dark and bready with some prune and other fruit presence along with malt. Repouring for more head somehow did nothing for the nose.

The front has some (hop?) bitterness, and the end has some too along with a trace of alcohol burn. The middle has a bunch of malt and some of that prune from the nose.

Pretty thick and smooth-- not carby, but substantial.

A pretty solid alt. Not many Americans even do one, so props to Founders for that.

zaphodchak, Jul 14, 2011
Photo of Brew33
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bottling

I don't have a ton of experience with Old Ales but I enjoy the style.

Curmudgeon pours a deep, amber with a reddish glow. A beautiful beer to be sure. No head, just a few bubbles.

The aroma is spot on for the style. Malty, sweet, caramel, toffee, rum cake, booze. Really, really nice. But also very subdued. I'd have liked for the aroma to be a little bigger.

The flavor is excellent. Deep, rich, malty, and sweet. Toffee, peanut brittle, caramelized sugars, plum, figs. Complex as hell!

The mouthfeel could be fuller. It doesn't quite coat the tongue. But it's medium bodied.

Overall, I enjoy the crap out of this beer every year and I desperately need to try the barrel aged version. Another winner from Founders.

Brew33, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of Krakistophales
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice ruby red color with lively carbonation and no lace...but there's a glob of sediment/protein/whatever it is floating around on top, and that's just disgusting. Had to remove before I could start drinking.

S: Not much going on here. Some malt sweetness, the slightest hint of dark fruit, not much else.

T: Better than the smell, but still pretty average. Malt sweetness at first, with a touch of tartness of what might be cherries, a zing of some other dark fruits, and a slightly hoppy aftertaste, but underwhelming all the same.

O: Probably the worst I've had from founders. I've had KBS and Dirty bastard, which were both fantastic, so this one must be a hiccup.

Krakistophales, Jul 11, 2011
Photo of haddon
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber hue with a white frothy head. Solid lacing all the way down the tulip.

Interesting mix of malty & hoppy notes on the nose: figs, dark fruits, brown sugar & sourgum with sharp hops bringing up The rear.

I take one sip and think... What makes this an old ale instead of a barleywine? Malts come thru with brandy, prunes, grapes, molasses, boozy taste. Dry bitter hops linger on the aftertaste. As it warms, the hops become more evident. The dry alcohol flavor really overpowers everything else and takes away from the overall experience.

Medium body that seems a bit dry for an old ale. Lacks the thick and creamy depth one would expect from a big ole ale.

Good but not great. Again, can someone tell me again the difference between this and a barleywine?

haddon, Jul 11, 2011
Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle thanks to somebody here who sent it to me as an extra. Amber color, short head. Smells rich, booze, malt, candy, good. The flavor was nice old ale with a bit of alcohol, toffee, really quite nice. Overall, I'd buy this if I could and wouldn't mind another bottle. Founders makes some quality beers.

ArrogantB, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Thanks to lnashsig for this bottle.

Appearance - Deep amber body with little head and only a bit of lacing. Sediment floating about as I look throuh the body. Tough for these types of beers to really look appealing.

Smell - Apples! I smell lots of apples. It kind of reminds me of Short's Good Samaritan. It has an earthy maltiness to the aroma. Not a sweetness that I expect.

Taste - The taste really follows the aroma, but with the addition of hops in the finish. Apple flavor at the start with other malt flavors. A bit of caramel and some brown sugar, but it's definitely an apple fruit flavor I get most. The finish is an odd bitterness that I do not expect from an Old Ale. The hoppiness pushes it towards the barleywine category, but not too much.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation for the style. The bitterness in the finish is the lingering taste. It's also a bit astringent. Not my favorite characteristic.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting from an Old Ale, but not bad. The apples aren't what I want in an Old Ale. I want strong malts, caramel and vanilla. Still, I didn't seem to have any difficulty finding a home for the beer once it got into the glass.

Alieniloquium, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of vandemonian
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) is a decent old ale that doesn;t take the style that far.

A: Orange colour and decent head that fades to edge lacing. 4

S: Oxidised cardboard with some malt. 3.25

T Oxidised cardboard flavour into dark malt and alcohol aftertaste. 3.5

M: Not especially carbonated. 3

O: Decent old ale but lacks that ridiculous sweet alcohol flavour that makes and old ale distinctive. Takes like an old oxidised DIPA. 3.5

vandemonian, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of crewfan16
3.25/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New to the style here, but have found all Founders beer to be enjoyable, so here goes nothing. Poured from a bottle to a pint glass

a-pours a deep amber/brown color. sort of mahogany or oak color. about an inch of foam that is slightly cream colored and descends with some light lacing.

s-oak, caramel sweetness, malty smell. not nearly as strong as I had anticipated

t-more oak. a little bit of bitter hoppiness, some caramel and lots of malt

m-for 9.8% abv, it doesn't taste too boozy. there is a little tingle on the tongue, but nothing more. carbonation seems a tad light, but it goes down very easily, very drinkable.

my first try at an old ale and I am sort of on the fence about it. It doesnt seem terribly balanced, as the oak is sort of overbearing. We will see if I like it more as the 4-pack dwindles, but presently, there are other founders brews i would rather reach for.

crewfan16, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of JackieTH
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light copper-mahogany with 1" of khaki foam. Smells malty, sweet, nuts- pecans, vanilla-bourbon.

Taste: Malt and then more malt...caramelly. Mild sweetness. Earthy. Leather and vanilla. Warming.

Mouthfeel was semi-slick, perfectly carbonated (low)

Overall: This old ale tasted more like a malt-foward barleywine. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Good stuff and will age nicely one hopes.

JackieTH, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of divineaudio
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into snifter - 2010 batch.

a - a hard pour yields a hazy, glowing, copper liquid with a thin cap of tan head. calms to a thin film pretty quickly, but leaves a few legs of lace dancing around the glass.

s - wonderfully earthy with brown sugar, oak and vanilla. slight alcohol presence.

t - freshly baked bread and oak dominate, but subtle notes of vanilla, brown sugar/molasses, and herbal hop character still make their presence known. slightly bitter in the finish with a nice boozy kick.

m - full in body, lower in carbonation, slightly chewy, slight alcohol warming.

o - pretty drinkable for almost 10%, but maybe better enjoyed slowly over the course of the night. a damn fine example of the style and a perfect match for the cold autumn nights in michigan. worth seeking out.

divineaudio, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 4/9/11. Definitely a little on the young side for an Old Ale. But how else will I see how it does over time?

Appearance: A murky amber brown color, pours with very little tan head that dissipates almost as fast as it came

Smell: Very sweet oaky nose. Has caramel, vanilla, hints of chocolate and a bit of booziness in there too.

Taste: Alot of vanilla flavor, some caramel, oak, and booziness. Not as sweet as the nose would suggest. Tastes a little bourbony too, not sure if bourbon barrels are used or not. Feels like it needs a little time for the booziness to mellow a little bit.

Mouthfeel: Full body, low carbonation, very smooth

Overall: Not bad, has a lot of potential. I like North Coast Old Stock better so far, but the bottles I've had of that are much older than my bottles of Curmudgeon. I will revisit this at a later date and re-review it.

MadCat, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of SWMeyer4141
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage

Poured into a Claret

Appearance-Slow rising carbonation. 2 Finger head with some big bubbles. Body is a dark Orange, hazy. Little lacing.

Smell-Very nutty and caramel malts. Some dark fruits as well. Not as prodominant as expected.

Taste-Big Malt bomb. Not as fruity and boozy as a Barleywine, but tons of malt. As it warms I pick up more dark fruits and caramel. Sweet upfront with a dryer finish then expected.

Mouthfeel-Full bodied. Less carbonation on the tongue as it looked like in the appearance.

Overall-Flavors came out alot more as beer warmed. It's close to room temp now and I'm enjoying it more. Booze comes through more, but flavors are nicer. Have a few more bottles that I'm looking forward to drinking during the winter.

SWMeyer4141, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of badboyrsl84
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours caramel color with a tiny lacing around the rim of the beer.

Smell - caramel, sweet malt, boozy

Taste - not as boozy as I was expecting from the smell. Very sweet caramel sugar and and some vanilla.

Overall - very smooth and tasty. I don't think Founders can make a bad beer.

badboyrsl84, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of Mosley1212
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at The Distillery in Savannah, GA on my way back from a wedding this weekend (congrats, Kris!). Poured into a Founders snifter.

A--Light golden brown color. No head at all. Had lots of yeasty-looking floaties in the beer. It allowed a lot of light into it.

S--Warm smell of caramel and brown sugar. Then there was an earthy quality to it that had a slight leather smell. It also had a dark fruits scent (plums, raisins, dates).

T--Followed the nose. It had caramel and brown sugar up front that was a very pleasant sweet. Then the earthy flavor of leather came through. It finished with a bit of booze and the dark fruits.

M--It had a slightly watery feel to it. The booze was present toward the end and lingered for a bit as well.

O--This was a fantastic brew. It didn't taste much like an old ale to me, though. It tasted like a perfectly aged barleywine. I would go back to this beer again if I come across it.

Mosley1212, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of rudzud
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a four pack last June at Julio's. Bottles 3/1/10. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Crystal clear copper pour with small suspended yeast particles. Atop sits a one finger offwhite head that slowly faded to leave a nice halo.

S - Nice carmel and toffee notes along with some dark fruits. Light vanilla, all very mellow.

T - Much like the nose its a nice mixing of mellow flavours. Carmel, vanilla, toffee, dark fruits, some oak. The ABV is slightly noticeable.

M - Low carbonation, nearly flat, but that 9.8 isnt even slightly visible.

O - Very tasty old ale. Will crack the three over the next 4 years.

rudzud, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of JizackFH
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a deep ruby amber color. It has a little more than a finger of off-white head on it. The head has good retention and leaves some nice lacing behind.

S - It smells sweet with caramel malts and vanilla. There is quite a big alcohol presence. I am also getting some dark fruit, cherries, oak, some nuttiness, and some toffee.

T - The taste follows the nose pretty well. There is a big caramel malt and vanilla presence at first. There are also flavors of oak, dark fruits, nuts, and booze. The booze is less present than it is in the nose. The finish leaves some lingering sweetness and booziness.

M - This has a medium body and moderate carbonation. It goes down smooth and has a somewhat sticky sweet feel to it. It coats the mouth quite nicely. There is quite a bit of alcohol warmth in the finish.

O - The drinkability here is pretty good. It goes down smooth and the flavor is very nice. This is definitely a sipper. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. It is a bit on the boozy side, but I would definitely buy it again. I recommend trying it out if you haven't.

JizackFH, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of Wadsey
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Curmudgeon, vintage 2008

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours clear deep amber with ruby highlights. Little head is produced, but a surprising and striking effervescence courses through the beer. 

S: At first flush, a fairly typical profile of an aged American barleywine: caramel, golden raisins, leather, earth and dark, dried fruits. Also, tea and what I would imagine tobacco leaves smell like. I swear I smell cedar when I agitate the beer. 

T: Caramel and brown sugar lead off and are next joined by golden raisins. An understated bitterness creeps in, introducing earth, leather, aforementioned leaves, as well as wood. I think cedar is still suggested by the sum of these parts, but not as strongly as in the nose. Secondary characteristics peel away in finish, leaving light medium-light bitterness and wood. No hint of alcohol. 

M: Heavy body with medium carbonation. Silky smooth on palate. Somewhat warming, which is to be expected. 

O: Old Curmudgeon holds together its disparate elements quite well, better than my descriptions represent. As the beer warms up, the bitterness seems to increase, too, becoming a more dominant player. Still, this beer is a great sipper and is brewed for extensive cellaring. 

Wadsey, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of budgood1
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out of the 12 ounce stubby bottle a hazed crimson colour with a fair looking light tan head. bits of lace. aroma of some graininess, wood chips and some ripe red fruit...a bit of brown sugar and cocoa, too. nose is very subdued and delicate. taste is a nice combination of maple syrup, bourbon, overripe red fruits, and wood. some cocoa and nougat, too. sort of understated, nuanced and delicate again...but nicely balanced without a real boozy demeanor. a touch of hopping does give it layered aspect, and it does have the requisite belly warming attributes but not obnoxious at all. full bodied with a smooth and easy going mouthfeel. nice drinkability...a nice sipper.

overall a bit underwhelming for a big beer, especially an old ale. but it does have a great degree of approachability. not sure of the cellaring aspect...maybe i'll save the other two bottles out of the four pack for the winter solstice, as this hit the spot on the summer solstice; a terribly cold, wet, rainy and windy day here in the northland.

budgood1, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of cetherid
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip

bottled 4/9/11


Beer is a brownish amber color with about a fingers worth of frothy off-white head.


No real dominant aromas..the nose is grainy/bready malts with slightly sweet caramel/sugar. Some subtle notes of booze as well. Was expecting more dominant aromas of dark fruit with more sugary sweetness but this is probably attributed to being a fresh batch.


Grainy with a little caramel malts and a nice bitterness going on. Honestly, tastes like a sugary and hot (boozy hot) German beer..like a Kolsch with those grainy malts and bitterness...a little disappointed in taste as the last few old ale's I've had have been Adam and 4D. Again, probably because this was bottled fairly recently.


About medium bodied. Carbonation not really high but good for the style. Fairly hot/warming feel on the tongue and going down.


A little disappointed with both the nose and taste on this again. I will definitely be revisiting an aged bottle of this. Kaiser Curmudgeon was absolutely fantastic, but pretty much any malty ale would being aged in maple syrup barrels. Definitely a good beer to sip but I suppose I had higher expectations for this one. Looking forward to my future review.

cetherid, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of GallowsThief
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in trade from ChugginOil (thanks as always!), Poured into my trusty tulip

A – Pours out a caramel dirty brown with no head or lacing to speak of at all.

S – Smells of caramel, cane sugar and alcohol.

T - Has a bit of a sweetness from the caramel. Butterscotch and almost a bourbon flavor comes out which I would attribute to the oak aged. Seems to have some dark fruits like raisins and plums. Finishes hot with a nice alcohol burn.

M – Medium bodied with low to no carbonation. Warming mouth feel.

O – Very interesting here. Has some of the attributes I really enjoy with a nice balance of sweet and alcohol hotness. Nice job. I wouldnt have more then one or two because you do feel the ABV.

GallowsThief, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of fltmedic
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At the HOPfest in KC 2011-

The dark brown ale pulls with a nice head which calms very quickly and leaves a surprisingly thin collar around the glass.

The aroma is strong and the maple, caramel sweetness is the first to meet the nose. Some malt is present, but it takes a backseat to the other notes.

Sweetness overpowers but a slight maltiness comes through in the fade.

The ale is far more syrupy and thick than others in the style. There is no comparison. It is heavy and thick and warmed by the alcohol at back of the palate.

This is a drink for those who prefer a thick, sweet sipper. Low on the totem pole for me.

fltmedic, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of auroracrisis
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz into a 22oz brandy snifter, bottled on 2/10/2010...

Pours an auburn chestnut like color, with a one finger head that dissipates soon there after. A blanket of foam and a collar of film around the edge of the glass.

The smell is forward with toffee, butterscotch and booze. A little bit of gingersnap, maple syrup and molasses, as well as caramel in the background. Pretty boozey for a one and a half year old beer.

Opens with a kiss of butterscotch and toffee, then moves directly into a boozey bite in the back of your throat upon swallowing. Maple syrup and a bit of ginger come into play in the aftertaste, as well as a bit of light brown sugar. Pretty damn good for an American old ale. Nice flavors in this one, but still surprisingly boozey.

Mouthfeel is a bit carbonated for the style, I would have enjoyed a bit more stillness to the beverage. Medium-full body.

Overall, a good American old ale. Nice flavors in this and I look forward to seeing how they develop over time. I didn't really like this one too much when fresh, I'm glad everything has matured a little bit. Can't wait for the booze to die off in it.

auroracrisis, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of Adrianized
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 04/09/11, poured into a snifter.

Clear red-mahogany in color.  One finger creamy head that settles.

Nose is malty and woodsy, sweet caramel, prunes, a little vanilla, boozy, and a faint fine cigar smoke.

First tasting seems hot, but a second later there's no alcohol burn.  Strong oak aged flavor, I guess that's the woodsy nose I smelled.  Big malty backbone and some bittering hops.  I'd say I taste caramel before I do molasses.

Mouthfeel is medium body and leaves a residue.  Carbonation is very good for an old ale.  Drinkability is really good.

Overall this is a nice oak aged beer.  It's good, but I suspect much better once aged. Overall a B/B+

Adrianized, Jun 14, 2011
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,618 ratings.