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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,204 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,204
Hads: 4,296
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 187
Gots: 980 | FT: 54
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,204 | Hads: 4,296
Photo of damienblack
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to JohnTravolta21 for this 12oz bottle.

Pours cider-brown with little fanfare. Minimal head and lacing. Smells like a hoppy, boozey barleywine, sweet and hoppy, and a little burnt malt or caramel. Something else dark and a little musty almost like tobacco on the nose.

Big sweet malt explosion, full of caramel and a stronger sense of that tobacco-like taste I got from the nose. Almost like coffee, except it's a harsher sensation. Tastes burnt without that flavor dominating, it adds sort of an oaked sensation to it. Also reinforced by a whiskey-like bite to it at the end, as well as a whiskey-smokeyness after in the throat. Hops bitter towards the end of the palate, there for bittering effect to balance out the sweetness, and don't really add the taste of pine or another particular hop taste. Mouthful is thick and syrupy, it coats the palate and doesn't want to let go. Big bodied beer. A nice sipper, but the heavy presence of hard liquors/alcohol, combined with the harshness of the other flavors prevent this from being more than that. I like the change of pace, but I don't know if I want to pursue this beer again, at least fresh.

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Photo of nick76
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is complex with butterscotch, sour-tropical fruit, caramel, oak, and a touch of peat. The appearance is dark amber with a medium head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is thick. Overall this is a very good beer. What I like about it is the unique, mysterious taste.

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Photo of erosier
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A big thanks to Thomashardy for these!
L: Pours a nice cloudy amber color with a short and thin tan colored head that shows no lacing down the glass. Lots of yeast kicks up as you pour.
S: Smells of very sweet malts, alcohol, some vanilla, and a touch of caramel. No hop aromas to be detected.
T: Very sweet upfront with loads of vinous fruit tastes, vanilla, sweet malts, then it follows with some yeasty flavors, then it has a very distinct alcohol flavor, then a slight bitter at the end.
M: Very heavy, smooth, warming, and tad under carbonated.
D: OK, very alcoholic and slightly bitter at the end, but not from hops.

Did a vertical tasting with the '06 and the '08 and the fresher '08 had more carbonation and tasted fresher. I liked that one better.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is an aged 2007 Curmudgeon I picked up at Flat Rock Saloon. Waited for a cold night to enjoy this one!
A: Dark amber color and hazy with mellow tan head that persists for awhile. Some sediment with this aged beer. Persistent tiny bubbles.
S: Aroma of dried black cherries soaked in bourbon, and sweet roasted malt with a touch of burnt honey. Some deeper dried fruit aromas combine with a hint of vanilla to smell delicious.
T: Burnt caramel and toffee malt sweetness with deep rich black cherry and dried currant esters. Some astringent chocolate malt bitterness is there midway. The follow up is a smooth vanilla bourbon barrel flavor which may or may not be intended. The vanilla is more apparent the further down this one goes. Alcohol becomes noticeable with this one. Not noticeable but for a hint of bitterness are the hops.
M: Medium bodied and smooth with small, sharp carbonation and a decent alcohol warmth on the palate.
D: Bang for your buck with this delicious beer! It has a smooth yet complex profile with plenty of alcohol to warm you on a cold winters night. Was glad to try this one more than a year aged.

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Photo of Nipitato
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle at Julio's located in Westborough, MA.

A: Dark amber hue. Opaque. This beer has some serious legs.

S: Blend of dark fruits and vinous character. Some alcohol. Lots of caramel in here. Burnt sugar and grandma's candy jar round out the profile.

T: Very strong malt flavor - caramel. Plenty of dark fruits - vinous. Quite boozy, almost like scotch.

MF: Full mouthfeel. Smooth and slick. Low carbonation.

D, notes: Good sipping beer. Smooth and tasty.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a hazy dark red with a slightly off white dense, thick head with good retention.

The aroma was malty with hints of alcohol. The beer also gave off hint of sweetness, maybe some kind of fruit sugar and also some spices.

The taste has a heavy sweet malt flavor but was balanced well with hints of whiskey, which made me think that it may have been aged in barrels. It also gave off an astringent flavor, probably due to the high ABV.

The beer was rich, yet smooth, very creamy, nice bitter aftertaste, and easy to drink with a medium to heavy body. Not sure I would want to or could drink too many at a time, but probably could, but might be better as a dessert beer. Excellent beer, highly recommended.

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Photo of wedge
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, cloudy chestnut with an initially large, creamy head that's nicely sticky and bubbly. Dried fruit aromas blend with caramel and nuts, flowers, cherries, whiskey, and mild spices. Light but pleasant...like a dessert I guess. Much "thicker" flavor. A rich fruitiness mixes with a sugary maltiness right away. Wine and bourbon, cocoa and coconut, vanilla, oranges...lots of flavor, though quite sweet. Probably too much for me to want to grab another right away, but it's not really that kind of beer. Very smooth, although there is some texture to the full-ish body. I like it...a good quality dessert-like beer.

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Photo of association330
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber with redish hues. Very little head, just a ring of foam left behind within a couple of minutes, but it does produce a bit of lacing. Unfiltered and hazy with yeast in suspension.

S - Sweet, malty, and boozy. Definitely getting some notes of scotch in there, and some floral hops. A touch of alcohol asserts that this brew is just under 10% ABV.

T - Starts with a sweet, heavy caramel malt presence. Transitions into a flavor of over-ripened fruit. Finishes with some bittering hops, a bite of whiskey, and a noticeable alcoholic astringency. A wisp of whiskey smokiness lingers on the tongue. The liquor presence makes me wonder if this was barrel-aged.

M - Thick, with average carbonation.

D - High ABV, and very sweet, but a good beer.

Even though it is not my favorite style, I think Founders has hit the mark again with this one. The whiskey flavors keep Curmudgeon from becoming too much like an average, syrupy Wee Heavy.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep hazy copper color. Some suspended yeast was in the glass which is always nice to see in an old ale. Some lacing.

S: Hints of booze. Some scotch in there specifically. Tons of malt. Smells good for the style. Old Ales tend to just be super malty when fresh.

T: Very sweet. Hints of booze. Almost tastes like it has been barrel aged. The sweetness just lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Medium to heavy syrupy body. Felt a little thick at times.

D: A little bit on the hot side fresh but still drinkable. This is what you want from this style. I think this beer has a really nice cellaring potential. Too bad I only had the one bottle.

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Photo of Kraken
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Fin Du Monde Tulip glass. Firm pour evokes little in the way of a head, in fact it pours looking almost flat. The Curmudgeon does manage to leave lines on the glass after every sip. Pours a dark and murky orange brown.

Nose- Rich aromas of citric fruits and sour apples great my nose.

Palate- Sour apples, toffee some citrus fruits, perhaps a little cognac. Lightly sweet, followed by a nice dose of hops, some sourness. Alcohol punch, long dry bitter finish, very very nice. Develops considerably as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Somewhat syrupy, very dry.

Drinkability- This is truly a sipper, to be enjoyed slowly.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours apricot-orange in color. Head is thick and soapy with slight lacing.

Aroma is caramel malt, nuts, and tropical fruit. Woody, with earthy hops.

Taste is malty and earthy as the nose suggested. Sweet caramel malt is prominent initially but is quickly eclipsed by the nutty earthy character. Light fruit, notably apple, apricot and melon. Finish holds lingering musty earthy hop bitterness and sweet brown sugar.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Slightly chewy.

A well made, complex ale. This is a winner with a great depth of fruit and earthy notes. Flavor is pleasant and unified, missing some of the alcohol harshness that is often present in an Olde Ale. In my opinion, this detracted from the score. Still, this is a tasty treat.

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Photo of bashiba
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy orange amber with a very thin white head. No retention or lacing at all.

Has a big sweet malty bourban barrel smell.

The flavor is big and full with hints of sweet brown sugar and caramel malts, a thick smokeyness and cedar, vanilla and whiskey, plus a big citrusy and pine hop finish along with some old ale musty yeast to balance it out very nicely.

The mouthfeel is thick and warm, even a bit oily.

Another great beer from founders, they just seem to make one winner after another!

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Photo of ybnorml
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clean dark amber beer. Has a small off white head. There is a sweet candy toffee note that dominates the aroma hiding a hint of alcohol in the background. The sweet toffee note hits the tip of your tongue while the alcohol sweeps over the middle. The finish has a coffee/tobacco character and then the toffee and alcohol join hands for a smooth aftertaste.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great name and great label.

This ale pours an amber hued brown with murky particles of what I assume are yeast. Khaki colored collar sits atop the beer. Smells rich and malty of figs, brown sugar, plum, caramel, raisin, and a kiss of alcohol. Wonderful bouquet.

Tastes similarly sweet with a spiced alcohol finish. The fruit is more subtle and less obvious than in the nose. Very rich and full mouthfeel. Great all around.

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Photo of beerorRIP
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

poured to a pint glass gives a one finger-ish head, a somewhat hazy orange / amber body. sediment is almost dancing in the glass (didn't decant this one) as active bubbles race to the top and keep the yeasts moving around. the head reduces in size, but a thin layer hangs around. this leaves some patches of lace throughout the enjoyment.

smells boozy... sweet malts, alcohol. they combine and nearly form an aroma of bourbon. nice.

the taste is not surprisingly like the aroma. i catch the sweet malts right away. the slight hot flash of alcohol combined with the nearly tingling feeling really makes me think bourbon now. the carbonation helps to move the flavor well, but it's more heavy malts characteristics are what stand out. there is hop bitterness that certainly helps to balance this guy, otherwise it would be sickeningly sweet.

the mouthfeel is medium, which is actually a nice thing. if it were more thick and syrupy, i think it would detract from what's presented here. perhaps if it weren't a bigger beer, that would be more to the old ale style.

due to my liking the taste, aroma, and rather medium easy to drink body, this is surprisingly drinkable. not a fast gulper, but not a sipper either... somewhere in-between. then the high abv starts to remind me i should have taken smaller tastes. or am i just tired and this beer is simply escorting me to dreamland?

founder's is a brewery that i've been impressed with, and this is only first real review of one of their beers. i'll be back with more.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber orange with a thin off white head.Aroma of sweet caramel malts ,honey,and some woody tones.Flavor is awesome,malty caramel,sticky honey,rasins,dates spruce, and burbon. Smooth creamy mouthfeel,a little sticky in a good way. Loads of lacing all the way down the glass,a nice warming effect. Very good

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Photo of KeefD
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Doing a side by side with Bell's Third Coast Ale. This one was up first.

Poured into a snifter a dark orange color, bordering on rust, with no foam despite a hard pour and no lacing. Sediment was left in the bottle. Nice deep aroma of caramel, ripe fruits, and light booziness. Flavor is a nice mixture of toffee and caramel with only lightest bit of hop bitterness on the finish. Very sweet, brown sugary, hints of licorice, lightly spicy. Caramel apple is a good comparison. Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, easy to drink, alcohol is well hidden for such a high ABV, but a slight warming can be felt as it warms up. Caramely delicious brew. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of JamesS
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice light copper color, but with no head and almost no lacing. Strong scent, but it's a hodge-podge of aromas; a huge maltiness with an interesting hop scent, with hints of cinnamon, caramel, and jerky, as well as alcohol. Strong, deep taste, but it has an odd varnish flavor to it, to go along with a deep pine malt. Goes down fine, with a bit of alcohol roughness. Not the best old ale I've ever had, or the best Founders; although I would never turn one down, either.

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Photo of TMB0424
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

Pours a murky, burnt copper body with a very small head that reduces very quickly. Leaves minimal lacing.

Smell is of vanilla, caramel malts, some citrus hops, sweet honey. Slight nutty/chocolate aroma as well.

Tastes of creamy caramel malts with an oaky, alcohol followthrough. Vanilla is prevalent, goes well with the rum-like flavors. Finishes with a slight bitter hoppiness, burnt citrus almost. Smokey aftertaste. The only downfall is that it's just a little too sweet.

It has a creamy, full-bodied mouthfeel. Very chewy and thick. The alcohol is definitely noticeable, as it adds a nice warmth towards the finish.

It's a solid brew from a great brewery - definitely a sipper. Like I said before, it's just a little too sweet in my opinion. I would only really 'enjoy' one of these in a sitting. I also rated it a little lower because if I didn't know any better (I guess if I was illiterate) I would have sworn this was a Barleywine opposed to an Old Ale - even though they are similar styles. Nevertheless, a very good beer.

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Photo of jwc215
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazed orangeish brown with a thin head that becomes a wisp. Some vanishing lace sticks.

The smell is of honey, caramel, nuts - reminiscent of honey-covered walnuts dipped in caramel. There is a fruitiness towards dates/prunes.

The taste is sweet - honey and caramel - not catching the 50 IBU's. Sweetness balanced by an ashy smokiness that leaves a burnt aftertaste. The burnt character shows in some sips more than in others, oddly enough. Not digging that part, which puts a dent in the flavour. Alcohol present, but not too sharp or overwhelming.

Full-bodied and a bit sticky. Mild carbonation does cut through the thickness.

Considering booziness and burnt notes in the aftertaste, it does glide down pretty easily. Since the style is so varied, I would say it fits the style well enough. An interesting brew that is quite good, though getting rid of burnt edges would go a long way.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Single, twelve-ounce bottle copped from Buy Rite on Oak Tree...
Appearance: Light-brown, rosy hue... minimal head minor lacing slight carbonation that soon fades...
Smell: Heavy on the malts, some honey and caramel...
Taste: Sweet, laden with brown sugar, caramel, rich, chewy malts... As far as an Old Ale goes, this is the real thing... Bursting with flavor... Slight alcohol noticeable on the tongue, as would be expected from a 9.3% ABV...
Good stuff... Not sure about making this beer my single choice for the night, but certainly one for the colder weather...

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Photo of ncvbc
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep ruby brown with thinnish head, murky and scary. Big notes of oak, vanilla, bourbon, and the like. Malt sweetness blanketing a somewhat juicy, citrusy hop character underneath. Holy mother, more of the same for the taste. Lots of vanilla sweetness to the point that it's overbearing and masks the rest of the brew. A bit spicy and warming for sure. Big, full, and creamy in the mouth. A faint burn but not in an entirely distracting sort of way. The bourbon essence is just too much for me. I can handle one and one only, if that. I believe there are better choices out there, even though Founders doesn't ever really steer me wrong. Worth a try but a bit more one dimensional than I expected.

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Photo of BirdFlu
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with a bit of burgundy when light passes through, very little head developed..
Aroma is SUPER malty, really nice.. a bit caramel-like, and a little smokey..
Tastes very malty but with a bit of bitterness in the back of the mouth and the aftertaste. Has hints of bitter chocolate and a bit smokey, like a racuhbier, again. Some apple cider-esque flavor and a bit of hops in the back end of the flavor and the aftertaste. Aftertaste is like burnt bread a little bit. Mouth is moderate, really sweet up front then bitterness follows for the aftertaste. Nice bite of carbonation, a little thick and smokey.
Drink is very tasty, a nice malty beer with aenough hop to keep it from being too sweet. A little syrupy in the sweetness, but very good.

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Photo of cokes
2.65/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Rusty peach-brown colored with little head development or lacing and loads of suspended particles.
The nose brings dry toffee, apricot, pineapple. But these are all muted by the papery, peppery oak. This also brings sub-bourbon notes of vanilla cream, butter, and hazelnuts. Muted is the key word, as paper/wood/oak and grain booze are the two major aromas, everything else is fleeting, indistinct, and ephemeral.
Caramel shows up more in the mouth, along with walnuts, and peanut skins. Oak brings burnt butter, vanilla, and bourbon-esque black cherry. But once again, the flavor profile thins immediately. Oak is more responsible for paper and bland pepperiness. Booze is notable, and seems to suggest sherry, but is equally devoid of gumption. Late black tea and cigarette ash notes.
Full bodied, lowly carbonation. So, basically how an Old Ale should be. I wish this was the norm rather than the exception.
I feel like I'm drinking this through a flavor-filter. A 9+% oak aged Old Ale, and all I can experience is paper, water-logged butter-caramel, and grain alcohol. It's like that very last, weakest sip of a Beam of the rocks.

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Photo of beveritt
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Thanks to NavyMSC for passing this one my way. I have had this in my fridge for a while and am just now getting around to sampling it. Poured from a stubby 12 oz brown bottle into a snifter. Label depicts and somewhat stodgy looking old man in all black. Not sure of the age, but does it really matter?

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 finger of tan head. This settles to a thin coating of foam and a few small islands randomly dispersed throughout the glass. The beer itself is a the color of tarnished copper, maybe a little darker. Cannot see through it, partially because of color and partially because of some suspended particulate matter. Some sediment in the bottle, makes me think I might have wanted to decant.

Smell: Alcohol sweet smell with hints of brown sugar and oak.

Taste: Wow, if I didn't know better, I would say this is aged in a whiskey barrel, so strong are the alcohol and oak flavors. The alcohol flavor is not unpleasant, but it definitely makes itself known as a sweet and slightly bitter flavor upfront. Tiniest hint of bubblegum esters, but mainly the taste is dominated by strong caramel malt and oak and vanilla flavors.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level, as expected from the style. Body is excellent.

Drinkability: A big and complex sipper. A little off-put by the floaties, but that could have been prevented by a proper decant. Alcohol is very forward, but not overwhelming. I imagine this would benefit greatly from some aging and I may have to throw some of this in the cellar with my North Coast Old Stock Ale.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,204 ratings.