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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,187 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,187
Hads: 4,204
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.58%
Wants: 177
Gots: 946 | 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: 1,187 | Hads: 4,204
Photo of gmfessen
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Saw this on the shelves on a recent trip back to MI, haven't had it so I had to pick it up. Poured from the bottle into a mini snifter beer is a clear, deep ruby-orange color with a thin head comprised of many fine bubbles which quickly dissipates to just a thin ring around the snifter. Small bits of lacing are left around the glass. The nose is slightly subdued with sweet dark fruit like raisins and figs dominating and slight fusel alcohol also present. The taste has another dimension of fruity complexity, slightly sweet with lots of dextrins, bittered almost to balance but still slightly sweet. The mouthfeel is full bodied with an almost dead carbonation and a dry, alcohol finish. As far as drinkability goes, this is definitely a sipper. A good beer for a night cap sitting by a fire on a cold winters evening. (822 characters)

Photo of ricke
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber with a small off-white head that leaves a ring of lacings.

S: The smell is malty (caramel and fudge) with notes of ripe fruit (grapes, strawberries?) vanilla and spices. It's a rather rich smell. It's good, but something seems off, like it's going downhill or something.

T: A malt-forward beer with a pleasant taste of caramel and toffee. Lots of fruity notes. The taste is sweet but balancing spicy notes level the sweetness. Here's also an interesting note of vanilla. The finish has some nice bitterness to it and notes of wood and malts.

M: Medium body with a rather creamy and slick texture.

D: A decent beer. But Old ales raise my expectations and this one didn't really meet them. There are far better examples of the style. (750 characters)

Photo of gregshead
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

S: Bourbon/vanilla smells. Lots of sweetness

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

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

O: Plenty of good flavors in this one. very drinkable old ale. I'm not used to that. (460 characters)

Photo of erosier
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (757 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (906 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head quickly fades to an uneven layer of bubbles, and lacing is average, both somewhat expected for the style. Aroma is vanilla oaky alcohol, possibly over the top, but the variety of flavors is enough to possibly overcome the somewhat exceptional intensity. Taste is also vanilla and oak, with strong alcohol throughout and a warming close. Wish there was a bit more of a malt sweetness background to support all the strong flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth, even if the drinkability is somewhat limited by the flavor harshness, in my mind. Age might help this mellow a bit and make a winner. (749 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very muddy orange in color. Low carbonation and no head at all. Huge vinuous and alcohol aroma. This puppy screams a lot more then 9.3%! Quite fruity and plum like as well. Huge malt flavor with a big bourbon taste. Extremely vinuous. Mellow alcohol burn in there. All a bit overwhelming I find. Oily slick mouthfeel-quite the lipsmacker. A huge package of a beer-a true sipper if there ever was one. I have to knock down the drinkability a bit as its too overwhelming for me in places. Still another solid beer from Founders. I wish I lived closer for sure.

edit-Just finished beer 20 minutes after starting review and it really came into its own as it warmed. A lot of the vinuous and alcohol bite had mellowed and it was quite pleasant. (742 characters)

Photo of bound4er
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/19/12

A. Hazy amber appearance with crimson highlights. Off white head of one finger breaks quickly.

S. Caramel, pitted fruit (mainly overly ripe cherries), organic volatiles I can't describe and a slight mustiness. Pretty complex.

T. Caramel, prunes, bready malt and cherries. Turns bitter quickly with lingering caramel and alcohol burn.

M. Medium bodied with a nice mouth feel. Low carbonation.

O. Not one of Founders better efforts. (453 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Hotel glass
From: Whole Foods in Tempe, Ariz.
Price: $2.59
Purchased: May 15, 2014
Consumed: May 16, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a caramel, amber clear color with about one finger of bubbly, off-white head. Lots of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Average foamy layered lacing along the sides of the glass. Below average-to-poor retention on the top of the glass.

Had to work for the smell, but got apple juice, dark apple, green grapes, fruity aromas, floral notes and some sugary honey.

Tasted much, much better than the smell and a lot different. Got oak, molasses, vanilla, dark apple, fruity notes, light butterscotch, booziness and still some sweet honey.

Medium body. Oily-to-thin texture. Soft carbonation. Long, boozier finish.

This beer was just OK. I was hoping for more, but it was missing something. Can’t quite put my finger on what. (878 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber, small head, cloudy, some sediment, high carbonation

Smell: malt, pineapple, currants, dried dark fruit, and a touch of hazelnut

Taste: malt, pineapple, currants, earth, and wood

Mouthfeel:sweet start with a bitter finish, medium heavy, slick, next to no feel of carbonation

Drinkability: A well balanced old ale, this is very good for the style and one of the better ones I have had. If I am looking for this style, I will seek this one out. One is about the max due to abv. (497 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a muddy slightly orange color with an almost nonexistent light brown head, it pours very thick as well. Nose is malty and sweet, a bit hoppy and almost a bit bready.

Taste is very wheaty oddly enough, it's a bit bitter and also quite malty. Theres some light caramel, and certainly a decent amount of alcohol. Overall quite decent. (378 characters)

Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy amber brown color with a thin film of off white head. Glows orange against the light. Strawberry jam and chocolate covered raisins on the nose. Dark fruits and caramel sweetness. Lots of carbonation for an old ale. Some burnt roasted malts come through on the back end which hides the alcohol rather well. Despite the taste being hidden alcohol coats the throat.

Sticky caramel covered fruit like sweetness up front with plums, figs, and dark berries. Carbonation makes the body feel thinner however the stability of the flavors through all the effervescence is impressive. Tootsie roll like chocolatiness comes through somewhere in the middle. Flavors blend well together but have a kind of order to them as well. The body thins out slightly near the finish (not that it's a thin body in anyway) which takes away from the beer slightly.

Some of the burnt qualities dont blend as well with the beers sweet character and some of the fruit and chocolate flavors are slightly offset of one another. Very good beer but could use some improvements. It wants to have big roasted qualities and big fruity characteristics but it's torn between choosing one side or the other leaving for a slightly confused beer.

This leaves for very good balance however.

Still another swell drink from founders though (1,317 characters)

Photo of Enola
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (390 characters)

Photo of StlHopHead77
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours out a burnt amber/honey-brown with low carbonation,no head to speak of and minimal lacing.

S-Sweet malt upfront.Some raisin and brown sugar
but also more earthy notes of the barrel and Maduro cigar wrapper.

T-Sweet with the obvious influence of the barrel.
Bourbony sweetness,smoky malt and the sweet/tangy bite of molasses.

M-Full and warm.The woodiness makes this beer slightly dry and the alcohol is not well hidden.Not a harsh booziness but not exactly subtle either.

D-This beer has average drinkability.The ABV isn't obvious or out of whack but it isn't balanced as well as it could be. (604 characters)

Photo of SFC21
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with bottled on date of 4/8/11. Poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Beautiful opaque, burnt siena colored body. virtually no head, though, even with a rather heavy pour.

S - Alcohol leads, but getting some figs, caramel, and dark cherry.

T - The alcohol really dominates the taste, with some hints of dark fruits, burnt toast, and baking chocolate.

M - Quite thick, almost syrupy.

O - Not bad but not great, especially at $16.99/4 pack. Pales in comparison to North Coast Old Stock. (497 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I always feel bad when I rate an Old Ale that isn't very old. But, since it is on the shelves, I will drink, and I will rate. Gulp....yep, it needs more time. There are some really nice flavors going on, but the beer is everywhere. The nose brings out everything from candied malts to spicy hops to dark fruits to caugh syrup. The tastes closely mimic the aromas, but with emphasis on a candy sweetness, harsh alcohols, and raisons and licorice. The beer feels a bit too hot and scrubbing in the mouth with sugary stickiness. It will be nice to see how the beer develops over the next year or two, but it's not ready yet. Thanks Clvand0 for the bottle. (652 characters)

Photo of beerwolf77
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was intrigued by this bottle just from the picture. The fact that it's from founders lets me know it should be a solid choice.

It pours a orange amber color with very minimal head. The nose is rather interesting. I'm getting hints of caramel and fruit. It's fairly sweet smelling with the alcohol right there too. The taste was a WOW. It hit me right in the taste buds.It's very sweet and bitter at the same time. It has a malty carmel flavor with a good hop bite. The alcohol is present in every sip. It seems kind of thin in the mouth. The light carb helps. Needless to say this is a sipper. Not my favorite style but a nice beer none the less. (650 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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. (642 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single bottle at Pinocchio's in Media. Poured into a snifter for review.

A: Pours a somewhat hazy amber with lots of suspended particles in the glass. An off-white 2-finger head eventually fades to a thin lacing.

S: Smells malty sweet with hints of dark fruit (fig, plum, dark cherry), pears, grape, maple syrup, and some sweet tasting caramel. Some slight alcohol notes in the nose.

T & M: Tastes of brown sugar with a definite woody, earthy note. Alcohol warmth soothes the tongue and ends with a bit of a solvent note towards the end. The 9.8% ABV is definitely there. Feels full bodied with a decent amount of significant sugars left behind. Definitely better as it warms, with the sugary malts lending some spice & slight cinnamon notes.

O: A very decent beer. A little one-dimensional in my humble opinion. While there are different subtle flavors and aromas, I feel as if this beer definitely plays on the malts alone. I love Founder's beers, but this one seems slightly under their other superb offerings in their lineup. This is the first time I've had this, so perhaps I'll grow to like this one more with subsequent tastings. (1,151 characters)

Photo of domtronzero
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Clearish orange copper with a long lasting fluffy off white head. Little lacing.

S - Sweet caramelly, bready and toasty malts. Little alcohol booziness.

F/M - Sweet bready, toasty caramelly malts. Little toffee. Slight boozy alcohol. Lite earthy hops. Medium full bodied, slick and a little oily. Moderate-low carbonation. Lingering caramelly aftertaste.

D - Sweet, oily and thick. OK for a pint, but not much more. (422 characters)

Photo of itsscience
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in appearance with some light getting in around the edges. Less than a finger of head even with a vigorous pour, and it fades rather quickly. The nose is rather imposing with molasses, sweet malt, burnt sugar, coconut, toasted oats, and oak. The same profile comes out in the taste along with some raisin and fruity esters. It's reminiscent of a Belgian dubbel but overly boozy. Not much of a hop presence here: this is all malt. Carbonation is low and the body is medium. (483 characters)

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark amber and I got a very big frothy off-white head. The aroma is mainly fruity (cherry???) with some medicinal notes (like a dentist's office).

The first thing I taste is sweetness from the malt, then in mid-palate it gives way to alcohol. I can definitely taste the alcohol here. It produces a taste that's more suited to Cisco or some other ``bum wine'' than a beer of this calibre. To be fair, the description of Old Ale on this website describes it as having sharp alcohol characteristics, so perhaps I should be giving it high marks for this instead of criticizing. Still, it's making it difficult for my (lousy) tongue to detect bitterness from the hops or any other elusive flavors that may be present.

Curmudgeon may well be the best representation of this style available on the market today, and I wouldn't know it because I have little experience with Old Ales. Would I buy this again? Probably not. Would I buy any other beers of this style? Possibly, but there are other styles I prefer much more. Still, given Founders' reputation and the quality of their other beers, I'm very glad I tried this one. (1,132 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, bottled 04/13/12.

Appearance: Good-sized head, retention not bad with a fat finger remaining. Little flakes look frozen in the copperish body, like congealed honey.

Smell: Molasses, pungent dark fruits, little musty, bit of sherry notes.

Taste: Caramel, musty raisins, herb-like sharpness, earth and aftertaste of alcohol soaked dried fruits. Good but doesn't grab me.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but then body asserts itself a bit. Despite that, i find it lacks a little oomph.

Overall: A good ale but not my fave from Founders. (552 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A light brown color with a very rich glow. No head even on a heavy pour. Below average carbonation throughout but that is to be expected.

Smell: Very rich malt. Heavy syrup and lots of molasses. Oak and touches of vanilla.

Taste: The front is a smooth maple syrup taste. Can definitely feel the carbonation on the front end. Medium to a thin body for what I expected out of an Old ale. The aftertaste is such a deep bourbon alcohol smooth burn. Not offensive just sticks around for a very long time. Overall just lacking that depth that I look for.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, but seems to just be off a bit.

Overall: In every way a solid brew. No glaring weaknesses. One of the first brews I had when I was starting up and still impresses me. I also had the opportunity to enjoy of growler of this and that was an eventful night. A bit pricey overall but more then worth a shot. (888 characters)

Photo of sevenarts
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Muddy reddish-brown, pretty much no head at all, just a little lacing.

S: Sweet and malty, with some caramel, followed by mingled fruit aromas, sweet and almost cidery.

T/M: Lots of layered malts: caramel, a little bit of spiciness, some tart fruity flavors. The alcohol shows through on the end of the sip.

O: I usually don't much like beers so heavy on caramel malts, but this one is quite good. Interesting, complex flavor profile with a lot going on. (460 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,187 ratings.