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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

1,194 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,194
Hads: 4,242
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 183
Gots: 956 | FT: 55
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: 1,194 | Hads: 4,242
Photo of domtronzero
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of itsscience
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of papat444
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of KFBR392
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of sevenarts
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of beermanbrian
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky brown color with a ton of floaties. Small head and zip on the lace. Nothing appealing to this one. Kind of looks like a glass of ice tea. I may have served a little cool so i won't subtract for the lack of head, but even with a nice head it wouldn't look all that great.

Smell kicks in with tons of sweetness as expected. Toffee and just tons of malt and strong whisky note to finish it off.

Taste matches the smell with some bitterness in there to cut the sweetness. Suprisingly bland finish, no real aftertaste despite the strong flavor and the sharp alcohol note.

Heavy body. This one is a real sipper. Good for a night that you only want one. I have 2 more bottles that i might age for awhile, interested to see how this one ages. Overall I have mixed feelings about this one, it has some nice qualities but leaves me a little flat in the end. Maybe some aging will give it the smoothness to match the finish? We shall see. Worth picking up if you can find it.

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Photo of BZero007
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack from Rick's Wine and Gourmet.

I have been going through a Old Ale withdrawl phase, and picked this 4 pack up with joy.
Pours a great looking Amber brown color with a pretty tan head forming, leaving lace behind. Aroma was of sweet malts with a light caramel and heat. Taste was interesting for a old Ale as I lean more towards malt base for this style. This old ale was good though I felt the malt didnt jump out and the carbonation was a bit to much. The brew taste too crisp for this stle to me. Possibly with some age the malt may jump out ahead. Aging the last 3 brews to see how she does.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the stubby 12oz into a snifter. Picked this bottle up at Al's of Hampden.

A beautiful copper color w/ good clarity and visibly carbonated w/ 1/2 inch of light beige caps the ale w/ a tight bead and good amount of lace sticks. The aroma of sweet malt w/ hoppy esters and stone fruit blend with the mild pine element and slight citrus w/ a light alcohol scent. The feel is highly carbonated and pretty bitter for the style w/ moderately high level of sweetness w/ a warming of alcohol throughout.

The strong bitter note of piney hops is equalled by a strong caramel malt flavor with a candy like quality and slightly salty and acidic tinge from the high alpha hops with the flavors of alcohol and stone fruit essence. The hops have a woody character and mild acidity in the taste w/ a mild tanginess of grapefruit that is noted as it finishes. This old ale is a good beer, but I consider it slightly hop forward for the style. It is tasty and hoppy, but just misses the mark to be considered classic taste-wise. I enjoy it and the alcohol is mild which is nice, so it seem above avg all around to me.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy carmel dark brown with a tiny film of creamy head that quickly dissipated. Zero rentention or stick.

S - Sweet smell of caramel and malts. Oaky, and the alcohol is present in the initial whiff.

T - First thing that hit me was the high alcohol scotchy profile, followed by a nice mellowing sweet balance. It gets better as it comes to room temp. It is amazing how these beers change with temperature and you get so much more of the underlying flavors.

O - This is a very well crafted beer. I was disappointed in the lack of head, but pleasantly surprised at how much I started to like it the more a drank it. It took me about two hours to sip it down and I would actually open and pour it and let it sit next time before I even had a sip.

Edit - I just had one of these that is aged about 6 months. The boozy taste has mellowed quite a bit. Lots of whiskey still in the nose, but not as much bite in the actual drink. This is still a sipper, but a good one at that.

Edit - I just had a 2 year aged - and this brew is completely different. It is actually fitting for the holidays as it has some holiday spice to the profile. The booze is completely gone and really drinks well. I don't know that it is improving much, but more just muting itself.

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Photo of Spica66
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Amber color. Slightly hazy (?) Very strange... Slight head and no retention.

S: Malt bomb! Wow. Smells molasses sweet with hints of caramel. Maybe just a hint of bittering hops, but not much.

T: Tastes just like it smells, but the hops are more present on the finish. Very nice.

M: Not sticky, like a lot of old ales tend to be, but also not really carbonated enough.

D: This beer tastes fine, but gives you a really good alcohol burn down in your esophagus. I doubt anyone would want more than one of these in a night.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I get a light toasted, slightly burnt aroma coming off of this one. Not much else going on in the nose.

Pours a beautiful hazy amber with highlights of orange and yellow. Head is off-white, thin, and leaves little to no lacing.

A very nutty-like flavor is coming off of this one, like roasted almonds. It has a nice lingering sweetness on the finish that is somewhat mouthwatering. Slightly boozy, but the alcohol is hidden fairly well. Quite good!

Full body and light carbonation, this beer feels sticky when drinking it, syrupy almost. Overall it has it's shortcomings mostly in the aroma, but the taste well makes up for it.

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Photo of capra12
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed by myself this time without the Trifecta served out of a snifter glass.

Appearance: 3 fingers of tan head and amber in color

Smell: The alcohol in this is a distinct aroma as well as a hint of concord grapes and subtle malts.

Taste: This opens spicy with some malts and hops which comes through during the middle to end. This brew is rather smooth but the alcoholic finish comes fairly strong.

Mouthfeel: This is medium bodied and leaves a rather hoppy aftertaste but not enough to keep my from taking another sip.

Drinkability: Although it is hoppy I would have another but not on the same night.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep amber orange color with a smallish off white head that dissipates quickly to wisps of foam on the surface. The aroma is sugary and malty with a clear bit of ethanol. Brown and caramelized sugars among dark pitted fruit and a solid hit of alcohol with little to no hop nose. The flavor is sweet with the rich dark sugars that were present in the nose. Added bonus is rich milk chocolate melded with dark fruits and again tempered with a hit of ethanol. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Good beer, I could drink it, but I was expecting a bit more from Founders, this one didn't wow me.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a clear medium to dark amber color with a half finger of white head. Head recedes fairly quickly to just a ring around the beer.

S: Citrus and caramel are most evident, lemon and orange zest oddly showing above all else. I get some bready malts as I keep smelling. Spicy oak and booze are also evident.

T: Lots of spices, I still get quite a bit of lemon and orange zest with nutmeg and spicy oak. Some caramel sweetness, but well balanced.

M: Thick bodied with light but smooth and adequate carbonation.

O: Not what I normally expect from an Old Ale, quite spicy and fairly dry. I'm really not sure what to make of this beer.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at a Founder's Tap Takeover at Ashley's in Westland, MI

Appearance- poured a slightly hazy copper color with a 1.5 finger bubbly head, that dissipated quickly with minimal lacing. Left a few steps on the glass as I drank it.

Smell- Not much in it. Plums, brown sugar, boozy sweetness, mellow hops, a hint of rose. Apples and clove as it warms up.

Taste- Boozy citrus hit, followed by roasty banana notes, a caramely alcohol bite, finishing smooth with a faint acidity.

Mouthfeel- slight fizz, cream ale creaminess, soft finish.

Overall- a tasty brew. Not too complex, big taste, but it vanishes too soon. All considered, it's another fine brew from Founder's.

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

Grabbed on fresh made for the summer of 2012. Poured into a schooner.

A - Cloudy amber with a thin pale head that leaves some nice lacing. Brilliant for an old ale.

S - Vanilla, burnt sugar, toffee and some smooth hops on the rear. Nice and complex for an old ale.

T - Follows the nose nicely but there is a compliment of bitter hops. I cannot say I care for this but there is a lot going on. The complex nature is enjoyable but perhaps my palette is just not quite tenured enough.

M - A bit thin, but has a almost syrupy composition on the inside. It feels like an extremely diluted version of the molasses in the CBS and Backwoods Bastard. Upon drawing these connections I feel this just average.

O - A unique brew and certainly a mellowed out version of the Better Half. I cannot justify paying near $3 a bottle of this at my local store. There are a near infinite number of brews I can find better in every category. I must note the alcohol is hidden masterfully, yet this seems to be a trend from the folks at Founders.

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

12 oz. brown bottle poured into a snifter glass. Served at cellar temperature, 45 degrees F.

A fairly delicate pour produces a deep copper-amber-tinged brew with a half-fingered head of off-white (leaning on beige) foam that recedes somewhat quickly before resting into a thin crown that leaves behind some light, splotchy lacing on the walls of the glass.

Some barrel aging is evident in the nose, as notes of vanilla and a hint of coconut mingle with sweet caramel and a whiff of alcohol as the beer warms.

Medium-full in body with a very light carbonation, the mouthfeel is neither thin nor heavy. Though some sweet caramel notes appear up front, at temperatures of 45 degrees F and up the middle is immediately taken over by a very bitter, resiny hop-and-alcohol character that is a bit overpowering. Mingling within are notes of oak, vanilla and burnt sugar, but the astringent nature of the middle is somewhat off-putting and carries through well into the finish with an almost solventy nature. The finish is extremely dry and displays more oak barrel notes of vanilla and woodiness.

I'm not sure if it's the temperature or if this is just a bad bottle, but the strong hoppy/solventy nature in the middle is quite overpowering and makes this a little bit of a chore to drink. It is reminiscent of Nemesis 2009, but in a bad way, as the barrel aging notes and the base character of the beer are a bit similar, but the strength of flavor that, with Nemesis 2009, works so well, in this beer works to its detriment. Perhaps I'll have to attempt another bottle, or maybe I just have an aversion to curmudgeons in general.

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

Poured from bottle into tulip. Appearance is dark amber color with light, beige head. Aroma is of malty sweetness, toffee, dark fruits, and a slight boozy-ness. Taste is complex - it started off with a heavy character of toasted malts, sweet bread, and caramel. As the it warmed up, there was more and more strong dark fruit flavors especially plum, which combined with the alcohol gave it a somewhat boozy quality. As my palate grew more accustomed to the heavy malt bill, I noticed more of the subtle hop bitterness that was lying underneath. Palate was full-bodied, thick in texture sitting heavy in the mouth, light and soft carbonation, and a bitter finish. Not my choice from one of my favorite breweries, Founders.

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

Poured bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark amber color that was pretty clear with a small and fizzy head.

Smell: Quite a unique smell. It's mostly dominated by an assortment of fruit aromas (blackberry, maybe). There's no overpowering malt or hop smells.

Taste: It starts off somewhat light on flavor with a bit of the fruit making an appearance. It's in the aftertaste where the flavor really comes in. The fruit and alcohol combination provide almost an assault on the palate. I like strong flavored beers, and I like this one, but it might be a little too strong for my taste.

Mouthfeel: It has a fair body that is moderately thick, but not too much.

Drinkability: With the overpowering aftertaste and alcohol content, this beer is a little much. It's good, and I might like to have some on hand to have once in a while when I'm in the right mood; but this is not something I could drink at a party or have a few in a night.

Note: I also tried this in a wine glass and to be perfectly honest: It tastes better. The flavor is still strong, but it doesn't bombard the palate like it did in the pint glass.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bsuedekum and SamuelJackson45 for each sending me a bottle of this one!

Pours a murky amber color with a 2 inch light orange head that fades to a thin cap. Thin rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of malt, caramel, and maybe some brown sugar. Taste is of malt, caramel, brown sugar, with a spicy hop bite. There is a little bit of bitterness that quickly fades after each sip. A very low level of carbonation makes for a thick and chewy mouthfeel that is a bit flat. Overall, this is a pretty good beer from Founders but the mouthfeel is not that great in my opinion.

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Photo of baos
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Jar.

A: Thick body with a thin head. Not too much lacing going on.

S: I smell the whiskey barrel.

T: Barrel booziness with dark fruit preserve goodiness.

M: Now this beer has body. Not quite 30-w but a lot more than diesel fuel.

D: Pretty strong brew but good enough to have a few.

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

Bottled 2/24/09

Poured into a Duck-Rabbit snifter. Clear, amber-red hue to the body with a thin white head. Still leaves some lacing behind.

Malty cherries and grapes on the nose. Hint of warm alcohol. A trace of hops, but not much. Overall, sweet and malty with a touch of fruit. Malts are bready/biscuity. Nice.

Sweet malts take the forefront on the taste, followed by honey, light fruits (cherry and fig) and some hop bitterness. Warming alcohol lingers after every sip. It seems that all the right characteristics are there for an English Barleywine/Old Ale, but the flavor seems to fall a bit flat and fades out quickly. Not bad, just not as tasty as others with a similar profile.

Mouthfeel is fairly dry, especially on the finish and has some lingering bitterness. Carbonation is a bit low, even for the style, but still adequate. Slightly astringent at times, probably from the hops and the usual warming alcohol.

Drinkability is all right. Curmudgeon has some good aspects, but fails to really pull things off. I keep wanting to like the glass in front of me, but nothing really pulls me back. The beer is worth checking out if you like old ales or Founders, but otherwise its just a slightly above average old ale in the craft beer world.

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

Autumn colored ale with a full white head. Very nice complex aroma has complexity from the malt as well as the barrel. Notes of vanilla, creme brulee, cookie, coconut as well as some spice nuances and barrel character. Flavor has some complexity from the original beer (caramel., toffee), as well as some light notes of whiskey, peat, toasted wood and vanilla. A fairly nice ale.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,194 ratings.