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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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3,804 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,804
Reviews: 1,121
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.72%
Wants: 150
Gots: 739 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,804 | Reviews: 1,121 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nandemo1
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of SFC21
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | 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.

Photo of r0nyn
3.25/5  rDev -19%
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.

Photo of CuttDeez
3.97/5  rDev -1%
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.


Photo of BigPlay1824
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
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

Photo of HardTarget
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
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!

Photo of AgentMunky
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Photo of Meerkey
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very thin head. Clouded dark copper.

S: Soy sauce. Brown sugar. Malts. Grains, yeast. A little fruit - dried apricots. Some alcohol.

T: Kind of weird. Malty and sweet. Fruit comes out with some tartness and then an alcoholic bite. Some soy sauce again. Yeast, a little sour. Bitter and dry at end. Can't quite decide how I feel about it.

M: Smooth, tingly. Strong and full flavor.

O: Pretty weird, but I think I like it. Takes a little while to get used to.

Photo of infi
3.39/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Corsendonk tulip.

A dark, rustic copper body that forms an off-white/light-brown hued head with a generous pour. Each sip leaves decent thin strings of lacing upon the glass. First whiff reveals a distinct booziness, probably from all the fermented sugars the molasses has lent to the beer. Over the preliminary heat, the oak barrels shine through with those vanilla tannins that they impart. Those will never be an old aroma to me. Very impressive on the nose.

This is where the beer fell off for me. I don't know, but the ale was probably so old, it literally died. The taste begins with a nice mustiness from the oak barrels, followed by a slither of vanilla sweetness and then suddenly nothing. No more flavors. It's as if the beer evaporates into vapor after reaching the palate and tastes like you were never drinking anything to begin with. It's the weirdest sensation I've ever came across. I'm not sure if this really is a true intention/bad bottle/etc., but it's actually interesting. A ghost beer?

Curmudgeon has a medium body that leaves a bitter and dry sensation in the mouth. I'm probably spoiled after having Black Biscuit as my first Old Ale before this, but I don't remember BB having that same abnormality. Probably one of those wonders in the beer world. I'll definitely try it again to see if it's the same for all bottles.

#5 of 9.

Photo of nhindian
3.14/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A - Pours a dark orange, vibrant and shading into light brown. There are a lot of floaties suspended in the beer, which gives a gritty and pretty ugly appearance. A one-fingered head slowly surfaces, composed of large bubbles and thin foam, with low retention besides an island of residue that lingers. Lacing is faint and creates makeshift shadows that take on multiple shapes.

S - The first thing I noticed about the smell is that it is quite malty but also has a distinct kick to it, as if it has some bourbon or spices in it to shake things up a bit. Lots of caramel here. As it warms, I am getting a noticeable 'soapy' quality which confuses me.

T - An interesting twist on the nose, the taste incorporates some butterscotch as well into the mix. A good amount of oak, but the malt really takes the foreground here from start to finish. Very sweet, and even has some raisins and molasses to pile on. At first I was enjoying this a lot, but once I started to pick up the soapiness in the nose it sort of hurt the taste, as well as a big booze presence.

M - The mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with lowish carbonation. Feels pretty good on the palate, but the flavors do tend to shy it towards syrupy and perhaps even cloying at times. Lasting impressions leave alcohol and caramel.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. I think I will go back to an adjective I used earlier to sum up this beer: gritty. From the oak to the malts to the alcohol and even the appearance, this beer is not pretty. It's big, sweet, and if you're not careful it can put you on your ass. Still, a nice beer that just needs a little bit of fine-tuning.

Photo of gregshead
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jrsd for hooking me up with this one. Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed on 5/16/11:

A: Hazy red color. Very little to no head on this one

S: Bourbon/vanilla smells. Lots of sweetness

T: Some alcohol presence/burn at the end. Good caramel/vanilla flavors. Maybe some bitter hop flavors in the finish as well.

M: Syrupy smooth feel works with the flavors of this beer

O: Plenty of good flavors in this one. very drinkable old ale. I'm not used to that.

Photo of rundocrun
4.17/5  rDev +4%
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.

Photo of Bfarr
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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.

Photo of Brew33
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of Krakistophales
2.74/5  rDev -31.7%
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.

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?

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.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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

Photo of crewfan16
3.26/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

Photo of JackieTH
3.93/5  rDev -2%
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.

Photo of divineaudio
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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.

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.

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,804 ratings.