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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: 4,289
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 979 | 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: 4,289
Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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

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Photo of Enola
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of SFC21
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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Photo of jwhancher
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

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