Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
89
very good

1,183 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,183
Hads: 4,164
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 177
Gots: 913 | FT: 52
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
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Reviews: 1,183 | Hads: 4,164
Photo of Spica66
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (526 characters)

Photo of tlazaroff
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of capra12
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (611 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
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. (661 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
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. (667 characters)

Photo of SaisonRichBiere
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
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. (678 characters)

Photo of mscudder
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (1,030 characters)

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (1,627 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (721 characters)

Photo of civilizedpsycho
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (1,123 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (597 characters)

Photo of baos
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (298 characters)

Photo of ncvbc
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (697 characters)

Photo of sisuspeed
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (1,253 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (379 characters)

Photo of jonnyybp
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not really my style but great beer nonetheless. Sweet, with the molasses, which hides some of the booze. Would like to try it again with some age on it (153 characters)

Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy orange color with a short one finger head that falls apart immediately.

Smell: fruity sweetness, caramel, and some alchohol.

Taste: malt and fruit sweetness abounds, along with some honey, caramel, and alcohol. Bitterness tries to bring it back in check but falls a bit short.

Mouthfeel: medioum bodied. Smooth from start to finish. Long alcohol fueled aftertaste.

Drinkability: a decent beer but alcohol is a bit too up front here. Worth a try. (470 characters)

Photo of Marcrates
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a dark, amber brown. It appears thick, with a thin creamy head.

Smell - Smells sweet and sugary, with a hint of raisin?

Taste - A little thick and "syrupy" for my taste. It isn't a bad taste, but it is definitely a bit like molasses. The after taste has a little bite, but it quickly fades and is a little anti climactic.

Mouthfeel - Besides smell, this is the best trait of this beer. Feels creamy, rich, and full.

Drinkability - If you like thick and sugary drinks, you may give drinkability on this one a higher rating. For me, however, I can only drink one of these at a time. This isn't a beer a would choose for a session.

Overall I can't say I hate or love it. I would definitely have it again, but only when I'm in the mood for something sugary. (778 characters)

Photo of TheDinger
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Murky brown with some sediment and a touch of light tan head that left pretty quick, perhaps cracked this a little too cold. Some spotty lacing and minimal retention. Smell is of dark fruits, raisins, carmel and burnt sugar. Taste follows more of the carmel/molasses that is very strong and a bit on the boozy end. Picked up a little fig note on the end, but reminded me of burnt carmel and hops bitterness. A decent amount of carbonation with a very thick feel on the tongue. Heavy with a hint of silk. Overall- Not my style I guess. Was wanting the booziness to give way to the rich flavors, but it was kind of over the top carmel with some hops on the end. Not sure I'll grab another. Shame because I like some other Founders offerings- (777 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've come a long way and looking at the other reviews I thought I give this guy another go and it pours a reddish copper hue with a creamy one finger head,the smell is quite sweet it's molasses,honey,oak and hidden underneath there is a piney hop bitterness,the mouthfeel is full bodied with minimal carbonation and could use just a touch more I feel and on taste it's definitely an old ale with hints of molasses,caramel,bitter old hops,a residing pine bitterness and finished with nice hit of oak that is quite subdued and works well and overall it's one of those beers that's nice but not something ill come back and revisit like breakfast stout or all day IPA cheers. (671 characters)

Photo of auroracrisis
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz into a 22oz brandy snifter, bottled on 2/10/2010...

Pours an auburn chestnut like color, with a one finger head that dissipates soon there after. A blanket of foam and a collar of film around the edge of the glass.

The smell is forward with toffee, butterscotch and booze. A little bit of gingersnap, maple syrup and molasses, as well as caramel in the background. Pretty boozey for a one and a half year old beer.

Opens with a kiss of butterscotch and toffee, then moves directly into a boozey bite in the back of your throat upon swallowing. Maple syrup and a bit of ginger come into play in the aftertaste, as well as a bit of light brown sugar. Pretty damn good for an American old ale. Nice flavors in this one, but still surprisingly boozey.

Mouthfeel is a bit carbonated for the style, I would have enjoyed a bit more stillness to the beverage. Medium-full body.

Overall, a good American old ale. Nice flavors in this and I look forward to seeing how they develop over time. I didn't really like this one too much when fresh, I'm glad everything has matured a little bit. Can't wait for the booze to die off in it. (1,131 characters)

Photo of kdb150
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip at ~60 degrees F.

A - pours a nice dark reddish-orangish-purplish color with about a finger of off-white head that sticks around for a little while. I've tried this a few times and sometimes there is a lot of sediment, but this one poured crystal-clear. A very attractive beer, though lacing is minimal.

S - reminiscent of a Belgian quad, with lots of dark fruit, along with a bit of candi sweetness. No real oak presence here despite the fact that it claims to be oak-aged. Smells pretty good.

T - I think maybe this is just my palate, but this beer simply falls apart in the taste category, which is a shame because the presentation is very well done in every other aspect. Dark fruits, predominately plum and fig flavors, come through big-time. On the back end there is a bit of the toffee and caramel sweetness, which is nicely balanced and not real cloying. Unfortunately there is something else in this beer that I find very off-putting. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but there is a very stong, pungent, almost metallic flavor here in the middle, and even with 8 months of age it has not diminished at all. Coincidentally, I find the same off-putting flavor in St. Bernardus Abt. 12, so I'm willing to chalk it up to my own sensitivities, rather than something wrong with the beer, to explain why I don't like it. Another downside is that I also detect very little oak, if any.

M - this is big and slick, but pleasantly so. The finish lingers, and the pungent flavor is nowhere to be found. The aftertaste is delightful, actually, much more so than the actual taste I'm afraid. Dead on for the style and size of this beer, and really quite nice.

O - I drainpour this every time, but it's a well-made beer that just doesn't fit my palate. Worth trying as it is a good overall experience, and if you don't have the same reaction to the taste, I suspect you would find this beer to be quite enjoyable. Alas, I can only actually score it based on my own taste, but I think most people would not have the same reaction to the taste as I do. (2,113 characters)

Photo of Anthony1
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | 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. (643 characters)

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep orange, slight haze, but clear enough to see some tiny bubbles rising. No true head, faint ring of white bubbles around the rim.

Really trying here. Got my nose in the pint, getting a faint sweet fruit smell, some alcohol, maybe some caramel. Got more aroma as this warmed a bit, but still damn faint. In a bar room with food /stale cigarette abound, you'd get nothing from this pint. My rating is very very generous here.

Nice toasty malt and some burnt sugar, and a little stone fruit, but this is immediately kicked aside by a strong chemical alcohol taste. As the booze fades, some full hop bitterness, then chemical bitterness. This is not beer for the tame. A true grown-up drink here.

Full bodied, with some carbonation - and it is needed to clear for the next sip. And that is how this drinks -- a pure sipper. This is not summer beer, but winter in the easy chair or fireside in the fall. This one is a bit hot (alcohol), almost to a fault. If the booze was toned down, I could see having more than one at a time. Since it isn't, I'm one and done. Decent beer, but to be had as a change of pace or a seasonal treat. (1,138 characters)

Photo of Lothore
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep, amber with a 1.5 finger, eggshell head that fades fairly quickly.

S- Smell is very malty, with a deep piney hoppiness that reminds me of bigfoot.

T- Taste is very malty, caramel, with too much hop influence throughout the middle.

M- Thick with a bit too much carbonation.

D- I wasn't too impressed by this one. Not bad but it just didn't have that raisin and fig influence that I love in old ales. (419 characters)

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,183 ratings.