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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

1,203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 4,290
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 980 | FT: 53
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: 1,203 | Hads: 4,290
Photo of TheSarge
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into a German Pilsner tulip.

Doesn't produce much head, but what is there is a pinky thick light tan presentation. The body is hazy and dark copper in color.

The nose is spicy and dry red wine like. There is also a floral aroma along with a fragrance of ginger or something of that nature.

The taste of this brew is red wine like, along with a toasted dark bread bluntness... Very creamy and maybe a little oily slickness, and warming to the palate in the end.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark orange ruby color with almost no head.

Smells like wood, raisins, dark fruits, and some booze.

If this is chilled, the flavors are muted to raisins and malt. As it warms, figs, oak, maple, dates, graham cracker, caramel, candy, and more. The complexity takes on a life of its own.

The beer goes down really smooth with just slight booze on the back end. It's thick and creamy.

Overall this beer is wonderful: I love the sweetness it brings on. I'm going to age one and check in in a year!

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass

A - Pours a surprisingly clear ruby color with a minimal off-white head. Minimal lacing. Beautiful color, not much else.

S - Intense sweetness with a nice woody flavor for balance. Plum, raisin and dark currants with some smooth vinous qualities. Alcohol is a strong component.

T - Smooth with strong sweetness from beginning to end. Not to say that its not complex. Loads of dark fruit flavor: plum, raisin, dark grapes. Vanilla and a delightful earthy, wood flavor. Strong alcohol bite develops at the finish as this beer warms. Beautifully complex, and true to its name.

M - Rich and full body with a smooth mouthfeel. Sharp alcoholic bite at the finish.

D - Delicious flavor stays accurate throughout. High alcohol in flavor doesn't necessarily translate to high alcohol in effect and drinkability. A terrific brew from Founders.

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Photo of dryndantheman
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask previously enjoying it many times from the bottle.

L: It pours a nice orange tinted brown with a small white head that dissipates quickly.

S & taste:The smell is strong on the malts and has a bit of molasses/other things going o. Initial taste is the same with a nice bit of fruit with some oaky bitterness coming in.

F: Extremely smooth and easy to drink, had a slight heaviness to it but in a good way (like a nice porter)

It was great value at €6 a pint but deceptively strong at 9.8%. Pity is is only ever in the pub for 5 days at most a year.

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Photo of violanojblues
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark amber/honey brown. pretty cloudy (i think i got a little too much yeast in my glass). i heard there's not much head on these so i poured it somewhat aggresively. the result was a nice light tan head which hung around pretty long and left little lacing.

Smell - wow! very sweet, vanilla and butterscotch-y with a boozy finish.

Taste - not as complex as it smelled. a really nice barrel-aged strong ale. not over-flavored as some beers in this catagory can be. very clean tasting.

Mouthfeel - kinda light with a mellow boozy aftertaste. slightly chewy.

Drinkability - very smooth. the sweetness works well with the 9.8% ABV.

a nice sipper on a crisp, autumn, michigan evening.

i look forward to buying this again.

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Photo of farrago
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One finger of orange-tan hued head, mostly dense foam but all kinds of bubble sizes found, foamy lacing as well, clings then slowly slides downwards. Brick red, rust color to more dark amber orange further out, warm and murky glow throughout. Sweey, jiggling jelly roll of a nose, brown sugar and molasses, sure, also coconut shavings, orange marmalade, crème brûlée and French vanilla ice cream, satisfyingly sweet but not insipidly ingratiating, firms up as it sits in your nostrils. Medium-bodied and actually a lot lighter in its feet than one might expect given the sweetness factor. Molasses, caramel, cocoa, cinnamon and coconut cream waste no time in asserting themselves, soft and inviting, at the same time the carbonation subtly lifts things up and prods them forward. Rich peach, apricot, nectarine fruit flavors too while tangerine and pink grapefruit citrus abounds. Full finish that fills the belly and makes you want to refill the empty glass.

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Photo of orfeu
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pizza Plant on Transit in Williamsville, NY. Awesome, since I've never seen any Founders beers anywhere in WNY. Served in a goblet. Hazy mahogany. Thin but dense beige cap. Utterly beautiful sticky lacing. Nose is quite faint: roasty caramel malts, bourbon, fruity esters, mild citrusy-floral hops. Port-like flavor; rum-soaked citrus peels, piney bitterness all on a sturdy cherry and caramel malt platform. 9.3% abv is apparent, but not inappropriately so. Rich, full mouthfeel; medium bodied and assertive. This is really tasty stuff, but the alcohol strength is definitely of the ass-kicking variety. I'd love to have more than one of these, but it would require that I have a DD. Top notch.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Deep amber under a small tan head. No lace, no retention.

S: Nice fruity aroma mixed with some wood, vanilla, citrus and piney hop. Incredibly nice aroma.

T: Nice taste, fruit is a little less, wood and vanilla character much more apparent. Very balanced, decent hit of bitterness in the finish with a splash of alcohol.

M/D: Surprisingly not so heavy, full bodied, but carbonation is low, and it feels light (but still on the heavy end of the spectrum). Good drinkability. Delicious beer. Superb.

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Photo of jerrytrey
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am a huge fan of Founders but generally do not find Old Ales that I like out there. That made the Old Curmudgeon an interesting and bold purchase for me personally. The blend of overall sweetness along with the thickness in feel and overall complex flavors to old ales has made it difficult for me to find one I love.

I poured a 12oz bottle medium speed into a beveled 16oz NERAX pint glass. The beer poured out showing a strikingly perfect color for my tastes in a beer like this: a blend of brown caramel and burnt pumpkin orange colors surrounded the glass while at an angle looking upwards towards the thin head I see a deeper brown, almost like a stained mahogany. I know this is a "thick" beer and I haven't had a taste. Smell was of slight vanilla, caramel and raisin. No single smell seemed outright dominant. Extremely pleasurable smell in this beer. Upon first taste I am almost overwhelmed. First opinion was that this was indeed a "thick" beer. The mouthfeel was a tad surprising at first but soon I adjusted and the thickness of the beer was preferred. I soon realized how wonderfully balanced tasting a beer of this complexity is. Malty to my tastes, but not in a bad way. Just the right amount of caramel and mild malt balances things out by cutting the smack you get from the strength of the beer. This makes this beer very, very drinkable despite the punch it packs. I'm not 100% sold that I want a beer with this much action in the mouthfeel (initial lip hit, tongue fall of the beer, the follow-up coating of the tongue with thickness of the malt) but if you know you want an Old Ale, this has to come recommended. I think this is a solid A- on my personal scale. Only reason I say it can improve is the mouthfeel to me at this young age is still really thick. I have 3/4 of the pack down in the cellar for aging. I strongly believe this is a candidate with some aging and will be researching to see just how long people have been holding this for.

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Photo of EMV
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Yard House in Orlando, poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a deep opaque mahogany color. Two fingers of off-white head left some attractive lacing.

S: Malts and candy, cloves and molassas... like all the great spices that go into gingerbread cookies. Dark fruits as well.

T/F: Malty and boozy with lots of sweets and spicy flavors. Molassas and brown sugar nicely complement hints of cinnamon and cloves. Nice alcoholic warmth and a clean finish. Light on the carbonation and a bit thick and chewy.

O: This crotchety old bastard from Founders drinks like a meal... or a dessert. This is a great old Ale, and one I will definitely be re-visiting. Founders rarely disappoints.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance: A deep and cloudy orange amber with a small white head that fades into a patchy layer. Decent lacing.

Smell: Strong aroma of caramel and toffee malts with vanilla, cherries, and hints of dark fruits. Also hints of oak, citrus, and booze. Smells pretty sweet.

Taste: Malty sweetness up front from the caramel, toffee, vanilla, and dark fruits. Has a nutty character. Finishes with some grassy hop bitterness mixed with a light kick of booze.

Mouthfeel: Medium to high body with a light to medium carbonation. Fairly smooth and creamy considering the alcohol.

Overall: A nice tasting old ale that is pretty easy drinking considering the alcohol.

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Photo of abfraser
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep opaque mahogany with a nice sized white head.

S: Caramel malt, candi sugar, dark fruits (cherry) and coconut

T/M: Damn is this good. Alcohol and sugar soaked cherries. Big malt profile. Lingering spice and maybe some toffee. Full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. This is awesome stuff

D: I could drink this all night even though it would leave me horrendously hung over. It just might be worth it.

An awesome beer. I actually prefer this over the Breakfast Stout, which while a great brew, is a little overrated in my book. For those that like old-style ales, this one is worth seeking out.

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Photo of Mosley1212
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours into a goblet a glowing orange-cider hue with a thin head hinting at retention but ultimately receding quickly to a thin collar, leaving chunky sticky lacing sporadically down the glass. A fair bit of hazy sediment glowing through the glass.

aroma is incredibly rich once the brew is allowed to warm. Notes of scotch, raisins, plum, cinnamon, anise, alder and oak, cardamom, leather, smoke and peat. Rich, complex, dark. cherries, cassis and persimmon. Sherry and a touch of bourbon.

Taste follows aroma in a menagerie of complexity that's difficult to pinpoint, yet undeniably delicious. Rich dark fruits, a strong alcohol presence, and a woody, smoky, leathery earthiness. Cherries, raisins, figs. bourbon, a touch of sherry, and a hint of whiskey. Oak, alder, birch, sarsaparilla, a touch of ginger, pepper, anise, and cardamom. a bit of peat, loamy, earthy and rich. vibrant.

Mouthfeel is dead on for the style. Thick, rich, and full, with just enough carbonation to keep it alive. Coats the tongue beautifully without being too heavy. a perfect sipper with just enough bitterness to counteract the syrup sweet.

Impressive old ale. Definitely a nice interpretation of the style. a bit muddled at points, and a bit undefined at others, but all in all a delicously drinkable brew. I'm really wishing I hadn't just finished the last drop - this is one I could sip on all night. The alcohol, while strong in flavor, is really not potent in a cloying sense. Hides relatively well, making this one solidly drinkable.

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Photo of Amesjeep
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark Copper in color with a slight head.

Smell - Amazing smell, light molasses smell, followed by caramel malts, and finishes with an almost Belgian yeast aroma.

Taste - Well balanced flavor, sweet yet defined. Finishes like and old ale should.

Mouthfeel - Smooth with some bite, just the right amount of carbonation for this style of ale

Overall - Well Done!!

Poured into a snifter from 12oz. bottle on 10/7/11, bottled on 04/09/11

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Photo of ovaltine
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Rich amber, 1-1/2 fingers of opaque white head.

Smell: The oak is present, but the molasses and toffee aromas sneak in to make your mouth water.

Taste: The oak takes a vanilla flavor, and the molasses and toffee flavors balance that perfectly. This is a traveshamockery good dessert beverage, if you choose to go down that path.

Feel: Nice carbonation for a beverage this big, the malt bill is a syrupy balance that fits this beverage very well.

Overall: I have a bottle of KBS aging in my beverage fridge that I just assumed would go to the head of my Founders class. That is no longer a safe assumption after enjoying this magnificent Old Ale. Well done by an iconic American brewer.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this from EvilKeith in a trade.

This one pours a dark copper amber with a little cherry to it. The head is a bumpy film of manila.

Smells like bourbon. This is good. There are also strong hints of vanilla with some gingersnap cookies and heavy caramel.

There’s lots of bourbon in the flavor too. This is riding on top of a scotch ale and pipe tobacco base with some nectarines, cherries, peaches and marshmallows. There’s a nice aromatic bourbon and smooth vanilla bean in the finish.

Feels dense and clean with a fuzzy carbonation with a little electric sting to my mouth.

I’m just going to assume this one’s spent some time in a bourbon barrel. It seems to be a good introduction to barrel beers if one was interested. Makes for a good sipper over all.

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Photo of swhitt
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I'd had old stock ale before but this is much tastier in my opinion. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter.

The smell is delicious, rummy and fruity with maybe a hint of vanilla. It is a sweet smell. The taste is very similar, rummy and fruity with some chocolate and malt. I like this so much! Too bad it is so expensive.

The weakness is really the cost - $15 for a four pack. If it were cheaper it would make it into my daily rotation.

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Photo of JustinAniello
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy dark copper with a half-finger head. Minimal lacing and cap as the head quickly dissipates.

S - Heavy sweetness with a medley of notes; browned caramel, chocolate, malt, and even some dark fruit. A slight burn of alcohol if you inhale deeply.

T - Milk chocolate and burnt caramel, very sweet at first. Turns to dark fruit and grapes, quick hit of piney hops on the swallow. Lingering bitterness with a hint of and alcoholic bite in the aftertaste.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Goes well with the flavors.

O - An interesting beer and my first old ale, great show for the style. Nice flavor and aroma profile. The alcohol isn't harsh but shows through enough to warn you that this beer means business. A great beer to sip through the night.

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Photo of outdoor7or24
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Would buy again.
12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.
A: autumn caramel brown, one finger head that dissipates, carbonation, sediment
S: wow, caramel, malt, biscuit, spice (heat)
M: medium and creamy, covers the tongue with a sticky malt
T: caramel malt, salt, dark fruit, spice (heat)
O: great beer for the cooler days

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Photo of iDrinknewglarus
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a murky red-orange. Really interesting to look at, no other beer I know of looks quite like this. The small, slighty tan head does not stick around too long after it is poured, but never disappears completely. It does lace somewhat for a high alcohol brew.

S: A total malt overload with alcohol to cut through the sweetness. It smells a lot like raisin bread. There is a bit of spice and bitterness coming through as well. Quite earthy, woody, and complex.

T: Not nearly as sweet as I thought it was going to be. You do get a distinct raisin bread taste just like you smell. And the alcohol is actually really well hidden for a malt forward beer. I think dirty bastard has more sweetness and alcohol than this one (although they are two different styles). The hop bitterness is pleasing and helps to clean off the palate. It really is quite enjoyable, quaffable, and hard to put down as it is a very interesting and pleasing taste.

M: Medium body. Sticky. Decent carbonation.

Overall I really enjoyed this offering from Founders. It is much more complex that I can put into words, and it is not at all alcoholic like the other reviewers have said. Beautifully crafted and the quality is outstanding, as always.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy amber-orange with a half-finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down fairly quickly leaving behind a bit of lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of rich sweet caramelized malts with some brown sugar, molasses, and a touch of dark fruit, spices, and booze.

T - Starts off with some rich sweet caramelized malts with some prunes and other dark fruits and brown sugar. Through the middle, some more caramelized and dark malts come through with some molasses, oak, a bit of fruity yeast flavor, and a touch of spice. The finish is a mix of brown sugar, caramelized malts, dark fruits, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a touch syrupy with a warming and sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable. Good malty old ale with a great balance of flavors and good mouthfeel and body.

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Photo of ubenumber2
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle , some big dummy poured the whole bottle in while talking to family member , let it sit for a bit and drank slow , but was a nice colored beer , amber and hazy , could have been because of how I poured , nice thick head that stuck around for a while

Malty and sweet aroma , almost a candy smell to me , very nice makes my mouth water

Full bodied beer , really feel like you are drinking something with this beer

The alcohol really comes through with this beer from start to finish ,a nice malty background with sweetness in their also , warming to the tongue and mouth , nice beer for a cold winters night

This was my first beer from Founders and I am impressed , I will be purchasing more from them now that the state line liquor store in Missouri is carrying Founders

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Photo of VTR
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The smell on this was very nice. Malts, whiskey, oak, sweet smelling molasses, and some dark fruits. The taste somewhat followed the nose but in my opinion was a lot better. It is definitely an old ale. The strong ale hits you first followed by the oak/whiskey flavor but then fades quickly into a kind of sweet aftertaste. I think the molasses helped balance it out. This is not a sweet beer it is dry and kind of bitter but I thought the bitterness subsided as the beer warmed. This is definitely a sipper beer with some good friends or some good old alone time. I do not think it would be enjoyed with food. Overall, I have purchased every bottle I have seen and can not wait to seek this out again in the spring. I still have two bottles in my cellar from this year. I was fortunate to drink more than my fair share this year! Seek this out I can not see how you could be disappointed.

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Photo of Beastcpa
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tastes exactly like Hell on Wood with a bit of sugar. Very good barleywine style ale masquerading as an old ale. Flavor that changes as it gets warmer. Goes well with chicken and fish.

Great picture on the bottle that conveys the classic taste if an old ale with molasses.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,203 ratings.