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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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3,834 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,834
Reviews: 1,128
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 151
Gots: 751 | 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:
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: 3,834 | Reviews: 1,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pmlondrigan
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of 57md
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Photo of lanamj
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of Dan3279
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of flagmantho
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Photo of doopydoogle
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of PhageLab
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

Photo of Vierenner
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
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!

Photo of SkipWeathers
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of mocktm
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
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.

Photo of Holland
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of brystmar
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of azdback
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of gfreed
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Photo of mechamifune
3.9/5  rDev -3%
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.

Photo of ONUMello
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Photo of Lauthaha
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of Guden
3.21/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Photo of TheBrewo
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of StayWounded
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of GregSVT
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of Naugros
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of brewmudgeon
2.91/5  rDev -27.6%
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.

Photo of MikeyMikee
4.52/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,834 ratings.