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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,877 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,877
Reviews: 1,135
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 156
Gots: 773 | FT: 46
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: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,877 | Reviews: 1,135
Photo of Spider889
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to msulinski for this bottle. Not sure why I've never seen this in OH (sent to me from PA, and I saw it while in Chicago last month).

Live review.

First thing I noticed was that the cap pried off too easily. Wait, is that glue gunk around the lip of the bottle? No... huh? Screw-off... seriously? Is this old, or old habit for this beer? A Founders first for me, at least.

My second notion is that there's very little carbonation going on here. With a tall pour it get a slow-to-rise head of cream colored bubbles that dissipate much more quickly than they appeared. The beer itself is a hazy copper color in my snifter. Looks like this one will be leaving some splotchy residuals but no real lace to speak of...

The third and most prominent thing I noticed (upon pouring) was the smell - thick and sweet bourbon. Ahh, Founders, your barrel-aging program is predictably recognizable, and yet about as good as it possibly gets. I am immediately reminded of Backwoods Bastard. Vanilla, lots of oak, sweet but not alcoholic bourbon notes are most predominant. The malt is also very apparent - more so than in Backwoods Bastard (which I cannot help but continually compare each aspect of this beer to now). Light chocolate and maple waft in and out along with sweet pipe smoke.

The flavor is also similar to Backwoods, but not entirely the same. Curmudgeon is frankly not as potent, and therefor, not as inviting for me. Still, plenty of flavor going on here. The bourbon is the front-runner - as in Backwoods, Curmudgeon has a flavor profile built around the barrel aging rather than the reverse. Sweet toffee and vanilla play with boozy bourbon. This is also much more bitter than I would have expected. Very smooth, but with a bite on the swallow.

The mouthfeel is smooth - too smooth. This beer borders on flat, which takes an appropriately low carbonation level for this style too far imo. Very dry as well.

I like this, but then, it's hard not to enjoy anything Founders puts into their barrels. But as stated numerous times in this review, Curmudgeon is very similar to Backwoods Bastard. So much so, that I would be happy to take a Backwoods over this any and every time. Good beer, but not great. But hey, Founders has that covered. ;-)

Photo of krantul
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

As we can perhaps discern from the label, this is an unapologetic, strong beer. It pours a dense, cloudy brown color, and has an oaky, almost scotch-like scent. It tastes like an english ale with a dollop of good whisky; although it has a certain pervasive boozy flavor, one that is certainly somewhat unbalanced, it's appropriate for the style. This is a full-bodied beer, almost to the point of chewiness. It's not what I'd call eminently drinkable, because of its kick; I found myself sipping it absently, like a neat whisky.

Photo of andylipp
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Appearance -A deep orange amber pour with ¼ inch of head in my tulip. The head quickly dissipated to a thin slick. Coats the glass with each swirl.

Smell -Sweet malt, caramel, alcohol, wood, brandy and port.

Taste -A malty toffee sweetness quickly gives way to an extremely complex palate of dried fruits, oak, whiskey, some hoppy bitterness and a long, woody finish. A late hint of vanilla/caramel in the finish, also. Nice.

Mouthfeel -The body had some nice viscosity to it, yet the carbonation was a bit too skimpy for me. Warming alcohol as it goes down.

Drinkability- It's a sipper, to be sure. More than one at a sitting would be too much. It shows every bit of it's ABV in every sip, yet it is fairly smooth.

Comments- I wondering if a few months in the bottle might take the remaining edges off of this one (but the screw-off cap makes me hesitant to try it).

Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours out a dark orange/brown in color. Similar to that of apple cider. Very little head that fades fast and no lacing.

S: Not too much on the senses, grainy malts in the back.

T: Sweet on the intake, little hop action in the middle, malts in the back. Heat from the booze finishes things off.

M: Medium body, little sticky action, abv noticeable, moderate carbonation.

D: A good sipper, I'll leave it at that. Would do better with some age on it.

Photo of zac16125
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter
Bottled on: none, must have rubbed off

A: Pours a dark copper, nearly brown with just under 1 fingers width of tan head. Head dissipates down at a moderate rate and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Tart apples, candied sugar, molasses, subtle caramel. Interesting, but not terribly complex.

T: Pretty big sweetness with caramel, candied sugar, and molasses. Some cocoa and oak notes. Subtle bitterness. Taste is more like an old ale than the aroma, and is quite good.

M/D: Medium bodied, a bit thinner than I anticipated. Carbonation on the heavier end. ABV is very well masked and drinkability is good.

O: Good, not great but certainly worth a drink. And with its mass availability its probably something I will visit a couple times a year.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: brown, perfect clarity. white head that leaves a lacing behind

Smell: malts, molasses sweetness, touch of oak, alcohol

Taste: dark crystal malts giving off sweetness and dark fruits, toffee, molasses, alcohol, oak. nicely complex and very hot. very unique

Mouthfeel: warming, heavy and pretty creamy

Overall: A great beer. taste good fresh but improves with age. a good one to find on the shelves every year and to buy a few and drink what you can and cellar the rest.

Photo of zeledonia
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled April 2012. Tasted 8 November 2012, reviewed from notes.

Pours a medium dusty amber brown. Can't see through it, but I can see far enough into it to detect some little particles suspended in it. Surprised by that, as I can't remember another Founders beer that had yeast or floaties in it. Half finger of yellowish head, gone fast little lacing. Not the best on appearance.

Smell is malty and rich, full of dark fruit. Slightly smoky. Also has a light alcoholic air.

Taste is definitely in the realm that I'm looking for, but it's not much beyond that. Malty, semi-sweet, and tasty, but lacking real depth. I don't know, I guess I was expecting more from this beer. Alcohol presence was big at first, but faded as it warmed. It reminds me a great barleywine that's had the best of it sucked out.

Medium-heavy body, kinda weighing on my tongue. Medium-low carbonation. Feel is just fine.

This beer is close to being really good, but it's lacking the punch, the depth, the pronounced flavors that I was hoping for. Not bad, but for a big malty beer (which I tend to love), it didn't wow me.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single bottle into a regular snifter late at night.

A- Curmudgeon is a dark amber color with some brown hints. Not much of a head but some tan foam reaches half an inch than fades. No lacing plus some sediment is seen floating.

S- This old ale has a deep smell of rich sweet malts giving off caramel, plus some burnt sugars. This years version has more of a hop aroma than I remember it, but they fade as this warms. Some oak/vanilla and dark fruit such as plum. A nice smell of raisins.

T- A really nice balance between the sweet malt giving off a bready vibe and dark fruits consisting of mainly dates and raisins. I got some hops on first sips but that faded as I got more into it. The little hint of vanilla is a nice touch. Some alcohol seeps through. Has some vinious hints here and there. Nice.

M- A very sweet and thick oily texture while this is somewhere above medium bodied. A bit of hotness from the alcohol but well contained for a near 10% old ale plus fairly fresh. Very faint bitterness from the hops, nothing major. A good one to let marinate on the tounge.

D- I usually take my time with big abv beers but this went down without a hitch. The alcohol is barely noticable in taste yet the flavors are just so full this becomes too inviting almost. Not my favorite founders beer but a great stab at the old ale category and worthy for repeat visits and slight aging.

Photo of hckyfn9999
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky golden brown color with a small white head. Aroma is full of sweet caramel and honey. There is also some fruit present.

Taste is sweet with caramel, honey, and raisins present. The finish is roasted, with almost a smokiness, and slightly dry and bitter. There is a hint of dark fruit in the background too. Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied.

Photo of Florida9
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap @ Durty Nellies

A: Served in a snifter with about a finger of off-white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing. Deep brown in color, but still very translucent.

S: Beautifully aromatic. Scent of oak and vanilla. Quite boozy with a little sweetness. Reminiscent of bourbon barrel aged beers.

T: Interesting. Starts off sweet and alcoholic with a little tannin and a little vanilla on the tongue as well as the flavor of lightly brewed tea. However, the flavor drops off quickly and the finish is incredibly short for this style of beer.

M: Surprisingly thin. Medium carbonation.

D: Very good, but probably shouldn't be. I was expecting a much more complex, heavy-hitting style of beer with this one and what I got was a very good, but shallow and thin old ale.

Photo of hardy008
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with no head. Smell is of sweet caramel malt, a variety of fruit, and a whiff of alcohol. This is a sweet beer with noticeable alcohol, and hop bitterness which makes this one nicely balanced. Can taste pears and dark fruits. Medium to full bodied, well carbonated. The drinkability is good, but the alcohol is more noticeable than I would like. This is still a good beer which I would buy again.

Photo of bonk0076
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish amber color, hazy, with a moderate head. Aroma is of hops, with citrus and fruity notes as well as molasses. Taste is very sweet - molasses and caramel, with a slight hint of pine. Fills the mouth with a full flavor. But offers a quick finish.

Photo of DrewZ926
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a deep, opaque, almost ruby orange. no head to speak of. bright lighter shades around the rim, very rich golden amber throughout

s: deep, syrupy sweet malts. caramelized hops. notes of orange grapefruit citrus peak through. picking up faint golden raisin

t: very complex malt bill. a lot of sweet biscuit with resonating caramel from the nose. faint hop bitterness on the finish. very full and well rounded

m: surprisingly thick, though admittedly my first old ale. nice carbonation upfront, smooth finish

d: slight bit of heat upfront, though mellowing as it warms

o: great selection for a chilly night. cant compare it to other old ales though. enjoying the subtle use of hops--contrasts the upfront sweetness of the malt

Photo of JoeBloe
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the 4th of a 4pk( $16.99)over the past 2 days - pours a mildly hazy deep amber with a 1 finger head that fades quickly - lacing is thick but also fades away rather quickly - smell is sweet and fresh -
sweet taste with a bitter pinch in the finish - pleasant and sticky - begs for the next sip - the alcohol is well hidden yet palpable and warming -
i would follow this with some lighter fare, 2 would be too many -
another good offering from founders, thankful that they're distributing in NY now - glad to have tried this.

Photo of abraxel
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm surprised it took me so long to try this beer; I've been a fan of both Founders and old ales for a while.

A - This is an attractive beer. A sort of translucent brownish amber with a pillowy, thick head that clings to the side of the glass and takes forever to subside.

S - Smells like toffee-like malt, but not very sweet. Hints of citrusy hops. For some reason it also reminds me of grapes... but maybe I'm making that part up.

T - Complex, rather sweet malts (lots of toffee and caramel, but so much more than that in a way that's hard to describe) with a fair amount of hoppy bitterness -- the hops blend in at first, then take over halfway through the sip. I really like it before the hops dominate, then it declines to just "good".

M - Not very thick, but it lingers quite a while on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Satisfying, but not stunning.

O - I like it. Not my favorite old ale (but that's unfair considering I don't live far from Kuhnhenn), but it's good. I think I'd like it more if the hops were a bit more subdued so the awesome, complex malts could shine. It makes me think the Kaiser Curmudgeon (this beer aged in bourbon/maple syrup barrels) must be just about perfect...

Photo of ghostwalker
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found just one tucked in the back at Colonial Spirits. Acton, MA

Nice reddish-orange body. Minimal head.

Nose is rich toffee, molasses and a hint of bubblegum,.

Flavor is rich and sweet. Smooth and strong. Restrained hops are there, but this is about "Big Malt"!

Warms a bit. Low to moderate carbonation.

Overall, drinkability is pretty good. This is really a winter sipper, but I wanted something to make my post-work Friday afternoon more enjoyable. Mission accomplished!

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. The “BOTTLED” date on the shoulder is “04/19/12.”

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is very hazy copper/ruby/amber. Two fingers of eggshell-colored head dissipated fairly quickly to leave trails along the glass and a bubbly ring around the edge.

Smell: Lots of molasses, toasted caramel, and dark fruit (plum, apple, and hints of raisin). There are also fleeting scents of port wine and booziness. It also reminds me a little of toasted rye bread with raspberry spread. Overall, though, the nose is pretty muted.

Taste: The first sip offers sharp booziness and the flavors emerge from the background. Burnt caramel and a little molasses are most prominent. The dark fruit from the smell is not as noticeable, but the oak aging does impart a little woodiness. Each sip leaves the mouth coated with a nice tingle of bitterness and booze.

Drinkability: To me this seems more like a Christmas/holiday release. The booze and the burnt/woodiness make me think of blazing fireplaces, Christmas trees, and snow. It is an odd little thing but is pretty tasty.

Photo of ronricorossi
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drinks like a solid barleywine.

Photo of lemmy187
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DaveBlack
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Reddish-copper beer. Only a thin layer of head, but that has a long retention and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Lots of sweet malts, brown sugar. There is also a slight spiciness and oak aroma to the brew. Really a nice smelling beer, but not very unusual or complex.

T: The beer really shines in this area. I wasn't expecting so much flavor after the rather disappointing aroma. Lots of malts up front, along with a punch of oak, and a deep breadiness. The finish has a light amount of woody hops, with the lingering taste of both molasses and oak. Flavor definitely carries you through to the end.

M: Basically a meal in a glass. Thick and chewy, a moderate amount of carbonation.

O: Good beer. It's definitely not for the faint of heart. This is a big beer, with lots of flavor and a lot of alcohol. Even one bottle is a bit much. That being said, it has a lot of good flavor, and is quite drinkable.

Photo of jlandis
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy copper with one finger white head that slowly fades into a thin ring. The aroma is very inviting with caramel and toffee with a hint of sweet cherries and brown sugar. The taste is much more complex than I was expecting from the aroma. There is the predominant caramel and toffee sweetness with a great cherry sweetness. In the background there is a tobacco and oak that mingles with the alcohol to make a fantastic presentation. The carbonation is light and the rich.

This is a solid beer. I remember the first time that I had it I absolutely hated it, but now with a second go around and a better understanding of what an "old ale" is I can really appreciate this one. Perfect for a cooler autumn evening.

Photo of cheesy26
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Dogbrick
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Odds and Ends Tasting on 8/16/06: Dark amber/brown color with a thin beige head that starts fizzy but calms quickly. Thin spotty lacing. Aroma of whisky, coconut and dark fruits. Rich, smooth body with pungent malt, bourbon and other spicy alcohol flavors. The finish is all coconut and whisky. Definitely different from the norm, and seems pretty raw all around. I would be curious to try an aged bottle.

Photo of Flamefireorange
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of silentjay
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a bit lighter than i expected with a nice sized light tan head made up of large bubbles that laces well.

rather light aroma of raisins, some vanilla and oakiness, toffee, and caramel.

flavor starts with raisins, dark fruits, a bit of a metallic sensation, but is smoothed out a subtle oakiness with some smooth caramel sweetness that gives way to a slight alcohol heat on the finish.

a bit thin with very little carbonation.

I thought it would be a bit stronger in aroma and flavor with a thicker feel, but its still tasty.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,877 ratings.