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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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

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3,537 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,537
Reviews: 1,103
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 135
Gots: 652 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
50 IBU
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,537 | Reviews: 1,103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of expatsteve
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky red brown color. Pours a 1/2 inch head with heavy cover and lacing. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Smells like a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread, with toffee, raisins and a hint of booze. Some nice chocolate and cocoa developments as it warms.

Taste: Smooth chocolate, cocoa and honey, with a nice hops/booze finish. A little plum following an upfront breadiness. Nice raisins in the finish. Nice balance complements grainy front and middle palates. A little pine and juniper in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation makes for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that balances the flavors of the beer. Nice bitterness in the aftertaste

Drinkability: Nice, rich and boozy, with great malts and a nice biting finish. Definitely a beer that I'll come back to, particularly as the weather turns colder.

expatsteve, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of IronCitySteve
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy orange amber color with a small off white foam head. There is some spotty lacing.

S: Lots of sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, alcohol and oak. Really becomes more apparent as it warms up a bit.

T: Not as sweet as I expected, no complaints about that. A nice blend of malty sweetness and the oak. The oak rounds off the sweetness which makes this quite enjoyable.

M: Slick and creamy. Nice medium body.

D: A higher ABV makes this a sipper by the fire. A very well put together Old Ale.

IronCitySteve, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a quite foggy rubyhued amber with a thick creme head. Nose is minimal with caramel and dark fruits and a malty overall tone. Slight bit of booze. Flavor carries a kick of liquid aspects (boozy burn) with an earthy tone. Dark fruits. Sweet tone. Feel is thicker on liquid and low on carbonation. For an old ale, this seems a bit...young. It's nice, but I think 2-3 more yearsmight do it justice.

Thanks to spointon for this one!

RblWthACoz, Nov 06, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears a brownish red color with a quarter to half inch off-white head that sinks to a thin skim rather quickly.

Aroma sweet and malty. Lots of caramel and toffee with some raisin and fig character. Perhaps a bit of cherry and a light alcohol.

Taste is initially sweet, but not so much as the aroma would suggest, with the dark fruit character sticking out then it becomes a bit more earthy with a slight bitterness and spiciness that linger on into the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and very soft on the palate. It would be a bit higher but it kind of leaves a weird slick feeling on the palate after the swallow.

Quite an interesting brew and a bit better than the Bell's Third Coast Old Ale that I tried. I would like to get another bottle of this to age alongside my Third Coast and give both another try in a couple months or so.

roadhouse, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of nmbr0ne
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

04/2011 bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy, dark amber body. Pretty cloudy. Doesn't look appealing. Very small khaki head. No visible lacing.

Smell: Honey, caramel, butterscotch. Sweet red apples. Cocoa butter.

Taste: Caramel, vanilla, apple, cinnamon. Tastes a tiny bit like a weak bourbon. Hops definitely present in the finish. No lingering taste.

Mouthfeel: Sticky. Low carbonation. Small burn from the alcohol.

Overall: Quite delicious beer. It's an ugly beer, but delicious.

nmbr0ne, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of VelvetExtract
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dimmed amber hue. Light haze but it is fairly transparent. Head is decent. Cream colored and thin but it suits the beer well. Body leaves legs along the glass. Pretty brew.

S-The oak-aging can be subtly detected in the nose. I find the molasses to be more noticeable. The 50 IBUs are hidden fairly well because I am not getting much hoppiness. Very sweet. Toasted caramel and tons of brown sugar. I also get a light pepper note as well as blonde roast coffee.

T-Flavor is pretty tasty. The oak is more present here and sets in at the end of the flavor profile with moderate-to-mild intensity. The molasses is tasty. Spicy tobacco and some herbally bitter hoppiness. I would like a bit more wood here though. ABV is well blended with the flavors.

M-Creamy and syrupy. Soft but plentiful carbonation bubbles. Not flat, just not strong bubbles. Slick and a bit dry with lighter bitterness (but enough to recognize the bitterness is present).

O/D-I found this to be a solid offering from Founders but it is probably in the lower tier of their brews. Quite nice but fails to truly distinguish itself and leave a legacy in my mind. The Better Half version of this beer is a giant improvement. Still, this is a cool singe to try but doesn't warrant a $15-16 dollar four-pack price tag.

VelvetExtract, Jul 03, 2012
Photo of yourefragile
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Liquid is a thick, dark tawny/brownish color, very cloudy with some floating particles. Light tan head that has nice retention resulting a in a thin film and a thick ring with a ring of lacing with some long streaks.
S: Predominantly sweet smell with a slight boozy touch. Malt sweetness in the background, and up front, spices, butterscotch, gingerbread, dark fruits. As this warms it pinballs between being very appealing to me and slightly too strong.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly watery in the finish. Taste follows the smell and borders on being slightly too sweet. Flavors of caramelized dark fruit, spices, molasses, sugar, vanilla and a background of alcohol. Also has a slight oaky flavor.

yourefragile, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of crosamich
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer however this seems more like a barleywine than an old ale. Has a distinct oxidized sherry, raisin flavor. The nose is a bit off-putting but flavor in the mouth is much more agreeable. Drinks very well for nearly 10%. Body is lighter than expected. The others tasting this commented that they wouldn't drink more than one but I surely could down several

crosamich, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of mentor
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by deejaydan as part of BIF33. Thanks for the opportunity! Hard pour gets almost no head. Cloudy orange brown. Smells oranges, oaky, and caramel. Alcohol carries vanilla.

Tastes gentle oaky on a nice malt sweet. Vanilla and caramel. A touch of sherry. Oranges and cherry. Simple sweet and tasty. Gentle and clean alcohol sting. Thick creamy mouthfeel and almost no carbonation. Nothing special, just a solid offering.

mentor, Jun 15, 2006
Photo of AltBock
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was able to try this Founders beer on tap courtesy of the High Street Grill. It was still on tap there around 11/29/2008. They served it to me in River Horse pint glass.

I saw the bartender pour it straight from the tap and it looked like he was pouring a slow thick molasses into my pint glass. When the beer settled, I saw that it was a hazy cranberry orange color. It had more cranberry than orange in it. On top of this hazy brew was a good 1/2 an inch head of pure white foam. This head of foam had decent retention that left behind a long lasting skim of white foam, a small string of white rings, and one streak of white lace. The aroma was no joke! This Old Ale was on the sweet side with roasted wheat, plenty of sweet black cherries, a touch of caramel, a subtle hint of grapefruit, lightly roasted pine needles, and a few dried herbal hops at the end. The taste was messing around either. The taste kicks off on the sweet side with toasted caramel malts, a speck of roasted wheat, and a splash of dried black cherries. Then after the black cherries leave the tongue, the taste then goes dry, bitter, and alcoholic with dried citrus hops, a few dried citrus fruits, quite a few pine needles, and a big bite of alcohol. Sometimes the hops and alcohol will mix together to make the taste a little harsh to drink. This was clearly a full bodied beer with a strong full flavored aftertaste of dried citrus hops, black cherries, a gentle touch of caramel, and plenty of alcohol. This strong aftertaste will linger on for some time. This beer doesn't even try to mask its high alcohol content. It was a nice lightly sweet big beer, but like I said before, it can get a little harsh to drink sometimes. Be careful with one. Take your time sipping this big beer.

AltBock, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of nick76
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The aroma is complex with butterscotch, sour-tropical fruit, caramel, oak, and a touch of peat. The appearance is dark amber with a medium head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is thick. Overall this is a very good beer. What I like about it is the unique, mysterious taste.

nick76, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy rust-orange with a dense tan head that fades quickly. There's some sediment at the bottom and relatively little lacing. The smell is big, buttery tobacco with notes of pit fruit and caramel. Although this nose is big, bold and fragrant, it doesn't mask the beer's intense alcohol bite as expected. However, the taste does the trick and melds buttery caramel with ripe fruitiness and a creamy mouthfeel. This is definitely a delicious beer, quite tasty for an old ale. It's exceptional at a slightly cool temperature and picks up sweetness as it warms.
I could only imagine how this beer would come out from the barrel...

ThePorterSorter, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of woosterbill
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A vigorous pour produces an inch of tan foam atop a deep crimson-brown body with hazy swirls inside; pretty good retention and a decent amount of lace. Good looking beer.

S: Rich malty aromas of ripe fruit (raisins dominate, with sweet plums and ripe cherries as well), plus a distinct nuttiness (candied walnuts and pecans); no apparent signs of the 50 claimed IBUs, but I'm not complaining about such a powerful and appealing aroma.

T: More nutty and purely malty than fruity, with a decidedly vinous finish. A little bit of bitterness creeps in on the aftertaste, but it tastes more like residual booze than hops. Quite sweet overall, perhaps too much so.

M: Pretty thick, syrupy body with low carbonation.

D: Goes down pretty easily considering the high ABV, but would have been helped immensely by just a bit more carbonation. As it is, just a bit too cloying.

Notes: Hugely complex and enjoyable, this is definitely a beer worth trying. It would probably be worthwhile to see how a year or two affects matters. Solid brew.


woosterbill, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of wagenvolks
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Original rating 11/3/2008 - 4.0/3.5/3.5/3.0/3.0 Overall - 3.35

Props to SirSketch for this LIF brew; 12 oz. bottle into a Delirium tulip.

Out of the light, Curmudgeon appears listless, brick red in color, and hazy. In the light, however, it takes on a vibrant, bloody-copper glow, and a trail of small bubbles can be seen rising up from the etched glass bottom. The faint custard head retreats almost as quickly as it forms, and leaves behind only a thin ring of foam around the top. The aroma smells great, I just wish there were more of it: crystallized sugar and cotton candy give way to a nutty, spicy yeast presence, while the hops add a kiss of floral grassiness to the mix.

The flavor starts off with hot alcohol and spices, a bit medicinal at times, but pulls back just before things get too overbearing. Alcohol warmth continues into the finish, delivering a sweet and bitter mix of brandy and cough syrup. Caramel malts and a slight hop edge are somewhere in the middle, but ultimately get overshadowed. Mouthfeel is sticky, syrupy, and hot with booze, while carbonation is almost non-existant. If I were to come across this again, I'd absolutely give it a few years in the cellar before unleashing it on unsuspecting palates. Too much alcohol, not enough restraint.

[EDIT: Tried a bottle on 12/28/2011 that was almost 2 years old. Very tasty, with subdued alcohol and a smooth, caramel maltiness. Dried fruits and a tinge of hops made for a well-rounded old ale. Leagues better than when this beer was fresh.]

wagenvolks, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of association330
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber with redish hues. Very little head, just a ring of foam left behind within a couple of minutes, but it does produce a bit of lacing. Unfiltered and hazy with yeast in suspension.

S - Sweet, malty, and boozy. Definitely getting some notes of scotch in there, and some floral hops. A touch of alcohol asserts that this brew is just under 10% ABV.

T - Starts with a sweet, heavy caramel malt presence. Transitions into a flavor of over-ripened fruit. Finishes with some bittering hops, a bite of whiskey, and a noticeable alcoholic astringency. A wisp of whiskey smokiness lingers on the tongue. The liquor presence makes me wonder if this was barrel-aged.

M - Thick, with average carbonation.

D - High ABV, and very sweet, but a good beer.

Even though it is not my favorite style, I think Founders has hit the mark again with this one. The whiskey flavors keep Curmudgeon from becoming too much like an average, syrupy Wee Heavy.

association330, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of wvsabbath
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Orange/brown, tan. Lots of floaters. 1/2 inch creamy head. Very cloudy. Looks like a ipa

Smell - Hops, Malts, grassy, earthy. Sugars, alcohol. Some citrus spices.

Taste - Starts very malty, with plenty of booze. Hops are orange and pineapple flavored. There is a oaked barrel flavor thats very present. Plenty of carmel and brown sugar/molasses.

Mouthfeel - Its strong and a mouth wrecker. Medium thickness coats whole mouth with malts, alcohol and sweetness to work over mouth.

Overall - Its a big, strong boozy ale with lots of flavor. Some say its too much but hey, its a near 10% beer and its made by founders, enough said right?. I would swear this had been aged in oak barrels. I must ask is this really a old ale? One and done beer for sure.

wvsabbath, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of FanofHefe
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a tulip. Amber body with some red tint. Good one finger head that leaves plenty of lacing.

The aroma is pretty faint. A little bready malt and a note of fruit. Not a great set up.

Fortunately the flavors surpass the aroma. Sweet caramel and brown sugar blend with some spicy notes. A little citrus and good biscuity malt finish.

The alcohol is definitely noticeable but doesn't detract. Medium body and appropriate carbonation. Very solid offering and enjoyable.

FanofHefe, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of slipperysoup
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%

slipperysoup, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 4/6/2012 - Consumed 6/19 - 13oz Grand Cru tulip

Got this in a recent trade and had my mind set on sellaring it. But, having never tried this beer before, my curiosity got the best of me.

A - Dark orange, rusted copper. Hazy and small reminents of floaties. decent one inch head that fastly receeds to no head at all. Not bad, swirl brings it right back up.

S - Nothing overpowering. Caramel, rum raisin, Molasses and some booziness as expected.

T - Same as nose but very well balanced. Everything plays in equal harmony, no one flavor overpowers another. I'm thinking another year+ in the bottle will really make a difference in this category.

M - Well damn. A bit creamy. Not heavy or as syrupy as I expected for the ABV and style. No problem killing a 12oz specimen.

O - Solid Old Ale. Nothing that's going to knock your sox off but a very good representation of the style. Well done.

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of tastybeer
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep hazy auburn, woody color, with some semi-discernible floaty bits if you look carefully enough. Head is far smaller than that of any other Founders brew I've had. There's about a 1/2" of creamy white bubbles initially which turns to a thin layer. Aroma is appealingly intriguing. Orange peel, lemon, cranberries, wood and leaves, grapes, softly liquor-like, phenolic and flowery. A lot to take in for sure but also well blended. Taste is also a lot to behold. Whiskey soaked fruits, again orange and cranberries, chocolate, tobacco, sweet caramel malt and cream/lactose, with nice bitterness through the finish. This is intense but tasty. The body + texture are extra nice. Thick and full, not overly syrupy, smoothly slick and perhaps creamy. The carbonation is subtle and just right for this also. Its a slow drinker but appropriately so.

This would certainly be welcome one at a time, once in awhile. Probably better off after dinner rather than before or during.

tastybeer, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of silver0rlead
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a thin tan head that doesn't retain well. The aroma is a step up with notes of vanilla, molasses, oak, spiced rum, dark fruits (plum, fig, black cherry), floral hops and alcohol. The flavor starts out with spiced rum notes, along with caramel, molasses, vanilla and oak, as well as some cocoa and dark fruits, and a strong alcohol presence. The mouthfeel is thick and drinkability is OK. An intriguing if a bit cloying old ale, that is heavy on the oak and caramel flavors.

silver0rlead, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of jmerloni
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - A dark orange, ruby brown color with huge head that recedes slowly and laces like a maniac.

S - So unique. I'm new to this kind of beer. Vanilla bean? Caramel malts. Smokey. I'm very confused by this brew and I like it.

T - Wow. Like nothing I've ever tasted. Vanilla bean indeed with some light spice. Maybe some figs or dates or dark cherry in these as well. Toasty bitter hops on the end. This is pretty strange and unique. I'm intrigued.,

M - Full indeed. Roasted and packed with flavor.

D - On the mouthfeel still, the carbonation is pretty limited and this is an area Founders routinely excels in - they never overcarbonate their beers and they don't have to. The flavors and uniqueness of all their brews speak for themselves. Another - not only great - but spectacular beer from Founders. It's very filling though and you probably can't have more than 1. One of my very favorite breweries. Will be buying this again very soon.

jmerloni, May 12, 2010
Photo of PhillyStyle
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a hazy dark red with a slightly off white dense, thick head with good retention.

The aroma was malty with hints of alcohol. The beer also gave off hint of sweetness, maybe some kind of fruit sugar and also some spices.

The taste has a heavy sweet malt flavor but was balanced well with hints of whiskey, which made me think that it may have been aged in barrels. It also gave off an astringent flavor, probably due to the high ABV.

The beer was rich, yet smooth, very creamy, nice bitter aftertaste, and easy to drink with a medium to heavy body. Not sure I would want to or could drink too many at a time, but probably could, but might be better as a dessert beer. Excellent beer, highly recommended.

PhillyStyle, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of BuckyFresh
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured from a 12oz bottle into a large wine glass. The color of this one is a very murky, dark amber/brown. Not much head to speak of and very little carbonation. There is also quite a bit of sediment in the glass (which I don't mind). But what I do mind is the large loogie looking thing floating in my glass. I'm not sure if it is a one-batch anomaly, but there is seriously a tan, quarter-sized globule in my beer that looks like it came from the recesses of the lungs of an 80 year-old smoker.

Smell: Very sweet and malty. I'm picking up lots of brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and toasted malt. Some raisins and dark fruits are also present. There is also a distinct sour yeast quality to this beer that really reminds me of a Trappist ale.

Taste: The taste is what the smell suggests; big malt flavor and also a bit similar to a Trappist ale. Nice toasted malt character and a dry finish. There is a good balance between the dryness and the molasses and dark fruits. Quite delicious.

Mouthfeel: Medium/full-bodied. Very little carbonation. Also not too sweet given the big malt presence. Not sure how the loogie thing would have felt in my mouth because I took it out.

Drinkability: Quite drinkable considering the big malt attack this beer summons. Alcohol might sneak up on you though.

BuckyFresh, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of mechamifune
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep copper with little to no head. Very slight lacing. Looks very clean in the glass, but probably a little more resin-y than I would like.

Smell is boozy up front with a little bit of dark fruit malt sweetness in there as well. A complex smell, and while I found it generally pleasant, I can't say it hit me in the way a great DIPA or RIS does.

Taste is in line with the smell. The booze comes out up front and then the dried fruit and sweetness/vanilla type notes start to hit. A nice taste. Finishes a little hot and with no real bittnerness to speak of.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and full, making this a very slow-sipping type beer. I found myself strugging as I drank it as I felt for sure that this tasted like an oak-aged beer (and thinking that I read that it wasn't)...only to later read that this was indeed oak aged, so i guess there is a small victory for my palate in that. I think its a good mouthfeel for the style, so I'm kind of surprised to read some of the negative notes about it in other reviews.

Overall this is a pleasant slow-sipping beer. This style in general is not a favorite of mine, but I think this is a good representation. For price point though, I'd rather get a great DIPA or RIS. Still, if you are looking to introduce yourself to the style or are a fan of the style, I would pick this one up.

mechamifune, Aug 26, 2011
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,537 ratings.