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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,854 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2854
Reviews: 1038
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 11.22%


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: 2,854 | Reviews: 1,038 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

^That is a beautiful picture ^
Aged bottle, first release? 12oz. shared with kmpitz2, thanks!

It pours a tawny reddish brown, murky with suspended particles. Light gets through a little bit. Some spotty lace is left, and at the very least a ring around the edge.

Aroma is mellow, sweet toffee and caramel, I can tell this is a beefy one. As it warms, more depth is apparent.

Toffee flavors, with an oak nuance behind it. Very cohesive and mellowed, it doesn't feel alcoholic at all. Caramel and wood, sturdy and balanced. Age has worked wonders on this beast. Rich and fairly well carbonated, it has a divine feel to it. Seek it out...

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2008 05:30:39 | More by emerge077
Photo of Dukeofearl
Dukeofearl

California

3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn Heights, MI, in March 2008 for $3.99. That's a pricy one!

Pours a moderately cloudy brown with minimal head, only a thin whisp after a few minutes.

Aromas of dark fruits (cherries, figs and dates come to mind), dark bread malts, and heavily varnished wood.

Flavor includes the heavy, rich malts and moderately sweet dark fruits. A strong fusel alcohol burn doesn't so much go down my throat as evaporated up my sinuses. Heavy syrupy mouthfeel makes this a sipper, one to enjoy slowly.

Tasty, enjoyable, a good version of the style. And since I want to be a curmudgeon some day, this is a good one to get used to! Seriously, a little to strong and rich for me, a decent once in a while beer, maybe in smaller than 12 ounce servings.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2008 00:16:41 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of Lothore
Lothore

California

3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep, amber with a 1.5 finger, eggshell head that fades fairly quickly.

S- Smell is very malty, with a deep piney hoppiness that reminds me of bigfoot.

T- Taste is very malty, caramel, with too much hop influence throughout the middle.

M- Thick with a bit too much carbonation.

D- I wasn't too impressed by this one. Not bad but it just didn't have that raisin and fig influence that I love in old ales.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2008 03:34:22 | More by Lothore
Photo of Atlas1
Atlas1

Texas

4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought this bottle home with me from a business trip to East Lansing. Thank you, me.

Wow. This is a beautiful beer right from the start. Pours a pretty copper/bronze color with hints of ruby red thrown in for good measure. Big, fat, two-finger head on top that lingers a while and finally recedes with a lace wake. Nice. The nose is bold and malty, and really fruitier than expected. Bursting with berry scents and a funky spiciness as well. A slight formadehyde aroma too, but I think that may be just my olfactory sense playing tricks on me. The taste is mellow, mostly of a malt character, with some dark fruit flavors as well. Some light spices. Lots of caramel and some faint toffee and molasses. Very nice. Mouthfeel is dense, smooth, and velvety.

A fine old ale here. High ABV (9.3%) is masked well by finely blended and balanced ingredients. I could easily toss back a few of these and not know what was going to hit me until it was too late. Tasty and easy-drinking. I'd recommend this to just about anyone. Would serve as a great social lubricant at parties, and would go especially well with desserts such as flan or bread pudding.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2008 04:04:39 | More by Atlas1
Photo of DIM
DIM

Pennsylvania

4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

a: This one is a clear golden amber color. A violent pour produces a medium sized off-white head that quickly fades to a lacey ring around the glass.

s: The aroma here is highly alcoholic, but it isn't overwhelming. It blends extremely well with the perfumed flowery hops, and the sweet, peaty malts. Along with some plum smells, this all adds up to smelling quite a bit like brandy.

t: The taste mirrors the smel for the most part, but it is perhaps a bit sweeter here. Flavors of caramelized plums, sweet peaty grains, and dry flowery hops are all blanketed by a warming brandy like alcohol. This is very good now, but I think some time in the cellar would make this even better.

m: The carbonation is gentle, making for a perfect silky, but thick, body.

d: This is a great sipper on a cool evening. Thanks to hoppymeal for this outstanding extra.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2008 11:43:37 | More by DIM
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass. This was received sometime in mid-2007 from a midwest trader as an extra; no date on the bottle...since it's an Old Ale (9.3%), I figured the unknown age wouldn't be much of a factor.

A: Very pretty hue...a toasty, reddish auburn that glows like an ember. Everything else is less attractive: a virtually still carbonation, many suspended bits of tiny yeast, a pencil-thin strand of light tan around the rim. No lace. Looks 'old'...but the color nudges this above 'average'.

S: Immediate aroma of raisins, cherries, and a boozy oaken bourbon. Citrus hopping, tons of malty toffee/sugar sweetness - this smells somewhat like a mellowed English barleywine.

A: So much of what's in the aroma comes forward in the flavor - very happy with that! The cherry/raisin/bourbon flavor is impressively complex, with a balanced hoppy spiciness and even some oak tartness. Why am I so convinced that this wood-aged, when there's nothing on the bottle or Founders website that indicates this? Both my wife and I tasted this barrel-like flavor first and foremost...

M: Certainly there's been some softening of the carbonation, which in turn gives a nice velvety quality. Not a huge body, nor a lengthy lingering aftertaste; this one is smooth and pleasantly warm in the mouth and down the throat.

D: Wonderful to drink at the moment. Whatever some extra aging has done to downgrade the appearance has been made up for in drinkability and texture. Well-balanced flavors and enticing aroma make for an ale I'd love to sip on again. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2008 04:35:31 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of twokansamm
twokansamm

Ohio

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red in color with a super thin tan head.

Brown sugar and caramel aromas dominate. Others are in there too, like toffee and raisins.

Caramel and brown sugar immediately with a hint of chocolate lingering... and then comes a hint of raisins.

A sipper, as the sweetness tends to be there all the time. No crazy hops on the backend to overwhelm, in fact maybe a bit short in the balancing attempt.

This is not my favorite style, but this beer has a lot going on which makes it enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 19:14:59 | More by twokansamm
Photo of soupyman10
soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UPDATE - 11/02/08: Threw this one under my bed (I use complex ageing systems) and left it for six months. Tried it again and WOW. Totally different flavor than when I had it fresh. Huge whiskey flavors and aromas flying all over the place. Really an incredible drink. Still crazy sweet, but no alcohol at all, just that sort of musky aroma the burbon gives off. I'd like to try cellaring more of these to see what happens...

Pours a nice amber brown color with a finger of slightly off-white head that dissolves to a fine film fairly fast. Solid looking, although the lacing is fairly non-existent. Nose is strong, full of toffee and caramel. Some sweet dried fruit in there too, and maybe a touch of spicy hoppy alcohol. Flavor is spicy and acidic. Quite vinous, with raisins and a sort of acidic aftertaste. Again, principally strong toffee malt but with a nice fruity background as well. A highly sweet beer, and fairly alcoholic (the 9.3% is fairly well hidden in the fruit and spiciness though). Body is medium with very mild, smooth carbonation, as is fairly standard for the style (and for a beer this high in alcohol). Overall, a very tasty one, although the ABV might keep me from having more than one or two. A very good dessert beer. I'm going to try cellaring one and see if the spiciness mellows at all.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2008 23:27:14 | More by soupyman10
Photo of jamie2dope
jamie2dope

Massachusetts

3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Grabbed a single of this in Cambridge. This will be my second time trying this brew, but the first as far as trying it from the bottle. Poured into my Stella glass a ruby color, with a small white heading. Smell is dominated by raisin, maple syrup, molasses and a bit of caramel. Taste is right along the same lines, with the maple syrup and raisins shining the most...is very sweet and sugary. Body is full and isn't afraid to throw its weight around with the alcohol. It is there and you will know it after a bottle. Great beer, but the intense flavors and in your face alcohol make it a difficult beer to drink. Reminds me a little bit of North Coast's Old Ale, which is also quite enjoyable. A beer to sit down and take your time with. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2008 04:05:37 | More by jamie2dope
Photo of Dalem
Dalem

Michigan

4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very radiant dark amber color shines through an unfiltered cloudiness. A very, very minimal head that goes away almost as soon it's pour and lacing that slips down off the glass back to the edges of the beer with each sip. A scent's something akin to oak barrel aged bourbon is right up front then followed up a bit of vanilla, caramel, sweet malts and a general earthiness.
First taste already says this is a winner! The thick and creamy (but not too heavy) of a fullness fills the mouth, a bourbon sweetness tickles every corner but not to the extent of a whiskey sting because the malts subdue into an almost caramelized and soothing throat coat. The back of the throat gets a painted with a molasses, hazelnut and honey coat that makes some clear their throat between sips but each sip til the glass is done is a seductive and warm flirt of a 9.5 percent and 50 IBU's

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2008 22:15:48 | More by Dalem
Photo of bosco7
bosco7

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany color with a thin tan head. Some chill haze just after pouring, but this clears up after a couple minutes.

Brown sugar, toffee, caramel, some cherry, banana, prune , and raisin aromas fill the air in the snifter. Extremely sugary. Extremely appealing nose.

Sweet upfront, in the middle, and at the finish. Strong raisin flavors upfront with toffee and brown sugar. Some cherry and slight raspberry in the middle. Cola? A bit of cocoa powder.

Slick and chewy mouthfeel make this a sipper, and this paired with the sweetness kind of detracts from the overall drinkability. We're talking really sweet.

Overall plenty of excellent flavors and aromas to go around. This would pair nicely with a stilton or Point Reyes Blue Cheese. Good beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2008 04:17:52 | More by bosco7
Photo of JustinOSU99
JustinOSU99

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice amber color with some great lacing. Decent one inch head settles nicely. Smells just like a fine whiskey. It's seriously one of the stranger beers I've had the pleasure of putting up to my nose. I get a strong sense of oak aging and some caramel. Not surprisingly this is just like sipping a whiskey. I'm not quite sure what to say about the taste of the beer, but i am enjoying the sipping aspect of it. A different type of beer, but one that you could settle down to in the evening.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2008 05:24:40 | More by JustinOSU99
Photo of SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours beautiful with an inch and a half of light tan head with foamy bubbles and nice retention. Body is a ruby brown mix that beckons to be drank. Nose has a nice combination of toasted almonds, rum, and dark fruits equaling a very robust feel. Enters the mouth with a resin like nutty oak character. Dark ripe fruits appear on the back of the tongue. Slight spicyness sparkles on the tailend of the palate. A rich spicey thick mouthfeel is the result. Sweetness is all over this beer and it is very bold with a smokey feel. Alchol is well hidden but the belly tells you it is there. Drinkability is decent.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 23:53:00 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of david131
david131

California

4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A dark orange with some brown thrown in there. The head is small and white and settles to a ring with some good swirls over the surface of the liquid. The thing that got to me was all the floaties.

S- Lots of vanilla and some bourbon. Some caramel notes in there as well. The aromas blend together pretty well for not being all that aged.

T- Carmely, bourbon, vanilla. Some sweetness and a little alcohol. Pretty well blended, but the alcohol could be hidden a little better.

M- Creamy and thick with just the right amount of carbonation. Clean and crisp and just a little numbing. Very good.

D- Definitely a sipper, but very enjoyable. I was not blown away, but this was very well done. I will be interested to see how the other 3 age.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2008 04:14:23 | More by david131
Photo of Monkeyknife
Monkeyknife

Missouri

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

Poured from a bottle a clear dark amber-ruby color with a healthy off-white foam head. Wedding dress-like lacing all around.

Aroma is bright and and sweet. Toffee, caramel and brown sugar along with hops and malts are present.

Tastes of spicy hops, sweet malts, and warm alcohol. It's tough to hide 9%.

Medium mouthfeel, slick and oily with just a touch of carbonation.

A very nice Old Ale from Founders. Drink it slow and enjoy.

I'd love to cellar one of these and see how it ages.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 19:55:31 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of GbVDave
GbVDave

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Caracole tulip. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a cloudy, dark-amber color. Sitting on top is a 3/4 finger of creamy, off-white head that leaves ample lace behind.

S: Subtle aromas of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and a touch of alcohol. Some caramel and sweet fruit as well.

T: Wonderful sweet caramel mixed with rich bourbon. Also noticed were dark fruit, coconut, chocolate, oak, apple, and vanilla. Whoa!

M: Very creamy and slippery. Oily and sweet, but just this side of being syrupy.

D: The alcohol is so well hidden, I wondered if it really was 9.3%. Heather said it reminded her of Backwoods Bastard. I'd definitely agree. This is much better than I remember from years past.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2008 23:03:09 | More by GbVDave
Photo of xgrigorix
xgrigorix

Michigan

3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce brown bottle, no dates.

Dark chestnut colour. Very thin tan head quickly fades to naught but a halo.

Rich caramel notes blend with a hint of fruitiness along with a bit of noticeable alcohol.

Slight fruitiness, reminiscent of figs, vanilla - the character of which makes me wonder if this was aged on American oak. Finishes sweet. Full bodied, slight carbonation. Not really what I'm looking for in an Old Ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 04:47:28 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of wardough
wardough

Wisconsin

2.03/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

As a fellow Michigander, I was disappointed by this beer. Founders makes some great beers, so this must be an anomaly. It poured a beautiful dark amber into my glass. It poured very dense, almost like syrup, which is very inviting. It foams up to 1 finger then dissipates down to a light, white lacing. Smells is of vanilla and raw coconut. The coconut flavor overwhelms the smell of the beer. Taste is a little better. Hops, then raw coconut and vanilla, followed by a heavy alcohol finish. Mouthfeel is heavy, but lightly carbonated. The coconut flavor of the beer was so strong that this beer is not drinkable. Perhaps this would be alot better if it were better balanced.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2007 03:13:32 | More by wardough
Photo of chilidog
chilidog

Ohio

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd been waiting to stumble upon Old Curmudg for some time, I'm glad I finally got some. This is my second bottle of the four. A clean palate makes a differance.

It pours a toffee reddish murk. A good tan head that maintained well. Lace was wise like as it bearded the glass lightly.

The aroma was mild though malted vanilla and oak could be noticed. The flavors of the taste pop the hints of the nose.
Good caramel malts spashed in a rum like vanilla bean raisin.
Bourbon barral notes carry thru though the alcohol is mild given the 9.3%. Its very smooth and easy on the mouth.
The non-intrusive alcohol aids this very drinkable old ale.
A wise Old Ale indeed!

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2007 20:08:37 | More by chilidog
Photo of kajerm
kajerm

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub, and easily the best beer on at the time. Pours deep red and surprisingly clear with a thin white head and not much lacing. Great color.

The aroma is classic Bigge Englishe Beer-- loaded with sticky toffee and caramel malts and dark fruit, with some clear oak and vanilla notes from the barrel-aging. Alcohol is evident but not excessive.

Tastes more or less exactly like it smells, but with the interesting addition of some stouty coffee notes on the finish. The barrel-aging on this beer is much subtler than a lot of the others I've tasted. As much as I like a vanilla-and-molasses oak bomb, it's nice to find a beer where the barrel is a part of the beer instead of running the show.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. In terms of drinkability, it's a sipper, but a fairly easy-drinking one.

Serving type: on-tap

12-20-2007 02:42:18 | More by kajerm
Photo of Enola
Enola

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a nice cloudy brown with a small head. The smell is hops, dried apricots, raisens and alcohol. The taste is somewhat nutty, caramel and molasses. But the dominating thing is the abv. Mouthfeel is smooth but with a whiskey like aftertaste and drinkability is fine on a cool day. This beer is barleywine-like and will certainly warm your ears. A decent beer that I would revisit.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 18:51:48 | More by Enola
Photo of BMoney575
BMoney575

Michigan

3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 12-11-07

Pours a super cloudy (and supery yeasty) red brown color. A filmy head sits in top, leaving rings of lacing.

Smell is sweet and earthy, with a complex quality that adds a huge amount of depth. Fruity, and slightly boozy.

Taste is an absolute shock. Thick, sour apple cider gives way to a sizable bourbon kick. I was not expecting this flavor at all, and it absolutely dominates the beer.

Mouthfeel is very good, super thick. You can taste the bourbon forever.

Drinkability is not so good, a hugely intense beer.

Overall, unexpected. The standard dark fruit flavors of an old ale were covered up entirely by the alcohol bourbon flavor. Maybe I'll enjoy the next one more, when I can see it coming.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2007 01:09:44 | More by BMoney575
Photo of BelgianAleSlut
BelgianAleSlut

Michigan

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark hazy brown, when held to the light it looks like heavily brewed tea. This is how I like my beers.

Not much smell other than sugar coming through at the moment.

Beer is on the flat side, neither head nor lacing. However, the bottle was very cold when I poured it - I probably should have let it warm up for a few.

Taste is heavy on the malt and has a brandy/whiskey thread at the finish.

Low carbonation and heavy malt do not excite my palate. Alcohol is nice and drinkability is good.

Good stuff the get through the cold Michigan winter season. A bit pricey for a 4-pack.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2007 03:02:25 | More by BelgianAleSlut
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

1.55/5  rDev -61.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy brown color ale with a small foamy head with small rings of lacing. Aroma is super sweet, almost disgustingly so with some notes of alcohol. Taste is a huge mess between some intense sweetness, oily texture with some cloying notes of alcohol. I couldn’t find anything close to old ale but more of an American barleywine with some unbalance feature. I usually love product from this brewery but this beer did not profit from barrel-aging.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2007 21:36:26 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky melted toffee with blurry orange and amber edges. The pour resulted in scant head formation, just one finger of brown sugar colored cream that doesn't look as though it's interested in leaving much lace. That's okay, the beer itself more than makes up for it.

I like the nose, but it could be deeper and more complex. Maybe warming will help open things up a little. I smell earthy caramel, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. I've read that the 2006 vintage (this bottle) was aged in bourbon barrels. Unless something changes on the palate, I have my doubts about the barrel-aged bona fides of this batch.

Thankfully, Curmudgeon takes on more of a winning personality on the taste buds. I was beginning to think that Founders lost their touch for brewing great beer. No worries on that front. I love what I'm tasting at this point and should be blown away once the slight chill is lost. It tastes like one of those ales that likes to be at or near room temperature.

A prodigious amount of caramel malt is present, resulting in a 'sticky toffee pudding' flavor the likes of which I've rarely encounted. Accessory flavors include dark rum-soaked raisins and dark brown sugar-crusted bitter orange peel. What a fantastic confluence of sweet and bitter. Sweet wins handily, by the way.

Alcohol is beautifully integrated, while still providing a power and a presence that all old ales (the good ones anyway) need to have. I'm still reminded of rich, mellow dark rum, but thanks to the caramelized sugar and vanilla notes, I'm no longer scoffing at the possibility that this bottle is from one of the bourbon barrel-aged batches. Say that five times fast.

The mouthfeel is dangerously close to perfection. I've had bigger old ales and I've had sticker old ales, but I've haven't had too many that possessed this combination of size, smoothness and silkiness. This stuff is so easy to drink that I've almost drained the entire bottle when I thought I was only halfway through.

Curmudgeon is yet another outstanding beer from Michigan's best brewery (sorry Mr. Bell). There are very few beer artisans who nail each and every style like these guys do. That's why they're on my list of 'Top-10 American Craft Breweries' and will be for the foreseeable future. If you want a delicous old ale that is pretty close to the gold standard for the style, seek this one out.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2007 15:24:02 | More by BuckeyeNation
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,854 ratings.