Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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
89
very good

1,219 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,219
Hads: 4,342
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 194
Gots: 1,004 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 1,219 | Hads: 4,342
Photo of mikecharley
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out of the twist top into a balloon glass. Appears dark and murky copper, with a twinge of red. Really no head to speak of, save a ring of tan around the edge. Leaves no lace, however the style rarely does.

Nose is of sweet malts and some brandy-ish alcohol (only a little). Also some dark fruits are present(very subtle). Prunes, figs, raisins, some plum and cherry in there too.

The taste is wonderful. There's some wood in there as well... Gotta love this. Dark fruits as the nose would suggest. Some subtle vanilla as well.

The feel is right on for the style. Just in between medium and full bodied. Seriously perfect.

The 9.8 gets to you by the end of the glass, and the alcohol presence should mask itself after a while in the cellar to improve this aspect.

Overall a great brew. I am going to immediatly seek out a case for the cellar to see how this champ does!

 884 characters

Photo of Justin_Neff
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Bottle (Denotes brewed with molasses and aged in Oak, where other years did not say this on the bottle) Poured from a bottle into a 50W tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep copper color, that almost appears amber when held to the light. At onset there appears to be very little head and then a billowing, off-white head rushes up quickly and clings to the side of the glass, eventually leaving a nice frothy, latte-like rim around the top.

S: Strong caramel wofts. Butterscotch, malts, vanilla, some oakiness, and molasses shines well. The smell is extremely complex.

T: Boozy. The caramel and molasses character are very present. Some dark fruit sweetness, balanced with some vanilla. Strong malt character and heavy oakiness to also balance out the sweetness.

M: Medium-Full body, but definitely closer to the full body. Creamy. Boozy, but smooth. Dangerous.

O: This one tastes a little different with every drink. Great complexity, but not all over the place. The balance of sweet, but not being overly sweet with some bitterness and the oak character was done really well. Glad I have a couple to age as well - I'm interested to see what happens with some age.

 1,166 characters

Photo of CraftAleRookie
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Tulip Glass at the Blue Dog, Chalfont- (number 9 in a series of tastings for the 2010 Holiday).

A- Deep amber, with a fluffy bone-colored one finger head. Good lacing, nice retention.

S- very interesting aroma- malt, with a nice sweet edge. Thoughts of hard candy come to mind in a subtle way.

T- Malt, sweet toffee, hint of hops, and a slight alcohol nip. All play well together to present a very balanced strong ale that's not over the top.

M- robust, light fizz, medium to strong body. Good presence.

D- One of the best strong ales I've sampled- will likely get better over time, but in a young form it's not "in your face" strong and very repeatable.

 671 characters

Photo of MacDomer
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - A bit of an aggressive pour results in a huge two and a half finger thick, pillowy head which lasts forever. The color is a very nice dark saturated amber/rust color with some deep blood-orange highlights. Just gobs of sticky white lacing.

S - Very appealing nose. Loads of vanilla and sweet rum-soaked fruitcake, hints of bourbon and wood. Some faint hops at the end. It's complex, but could be a bit bigger or more powerful than it is. Not that it's weak, but it would easily be able to handle a larger nose.

T - Again, vanilla, light bourbon and wood, light and medium fruits. Sweet, like brown sugar and browned-butter baked peaches. Lots and lots of caramel. Both fruity and spicy mid-palate and nice warming alcohol at the end.

M - Really great mouthfeel! Fuller body, super creamy and smooth. Low carbonation. Finishes pretty clean with a long finish. This is super, super silky.

D - Pretty high considering the ABV. Very tasty brew and the flavors don't get tiring, and with the great mouthfeel, I had no problem drinking this beer and could easily drink another one or two.

Another great one from Founders.

 1,161 characters

Photo of WeedKing4
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a very dark amber using the Duvel glass. The taste is of roasted dark malts with dark fruits lingering in a delicious treat. The second best old ale I have had compared to 4th Dementia. This was very damn easy to drink as I didn't detect the 9.8% at all. Very smooth, and quite delicious. I will definately pick this beer up again.

 344 characters

Photo of mltobin
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle from a 4 pack bought in Westchester NY.

Poured this into a Unibroue tulip. Appearance is dark red with a short off-white head. Its` nose contains vanilla, toffee and dark fruits. The taste has caramel, brown sugar, more dark fruit. Booze comes through in taste, as well as some bitterness. MF is crisp, nice as it warms up, goes down fairly easy. All things considered, this is a damn good old ale. I was glad to see this again as the temperatures dropped in 2011.

 474 characters

Photo of ghengisflan
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: As a fan of funky sours, I enjoyed the appearance: a nice opaque orange with a very thin white head.

Smell: The complexity of the aroma ran from sweet malt and caramel to spicy hops and an old ale funk.

Taste and Mouthfeel: What was incredible to me about this beer is that it had three, rather than two, tastes. Up front, I experienced the toffee and caramel that the other reviewers did. The middle was medium fruitiness, malt, and carbonation. The end was a nice finish of alcohol and hops.

Overall: I was expecting something maybe closer to a toned down barley wine based on the Wyeast descriptions of

 621 characters

Photo of 98green
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My first run with an Old Ale. The complexity is as billed from prior reviews. You won't be pounding this one. Not sure I'd seek it out, but if I'm up for a slow sip this is a good choice

 186 characters

Photo of Blueribbon666
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. 2011 edition.
Poured into dimpled mug a cloudy dark amber with very little head retention. Smells clean, light citrus scent, very complex mix of sweet, dark fruits, malt and a bit of hops. Taste is a nice blend of the aforementioned smells with the 9.8% abv adding a nice warming presence to the very nice complexity of the flavors and a velvety burn on the finish, but very good, very drinkable even for a sipper. Another solid Founders beer that I will happily purchase more of in the future.

 514 characters

Photo of samie85
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on date is 2/04/10, so this one is a over a year and a half old.

A-Pours a light, tawny port with half finger of white head that dissipates to a thin ring around the inside of my snifter.

S-The nose is comprised primarily of big oak notes, vanilla, rich toffee notes, and a bit of plum with some earthy hops.

T-Oak and dark plum with some toffee, and a bit of vanilla with a earthy bitter hop finish.

M-Very light carbonation with a medium bodied and a drying, woody finish.

D-This is a very nice and intriguing brew. I like it quite a bit as is, but now I have to try it fresh to compare. ABV is very well hidden; be careful!

 639 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served at cellar temperature into a tulip. Bottled May 2, 2015.

Appearance - an aggressive pour leads to a dark ruby coloured beer capped with a finger of off-white head and good retention. A small thin curtain of lace cascades down the sides of the glass. The beer is just a bit cloudy and plenty of lively bubbles.

Smell - big time aroma of predominately molasses and treacle. Some related aromas of caramel, and butterscotch too, but mostly molasses.

Taste - huge malt flavours, molasses, treacle and even some liquorice for good measure. Great flavor combo that works well as a sipper. Bitterness is present but restrained although it prevents this old ale from becoming sweet. Alcohol flavours aren't too noticeable either.

Mouthfeel - smooth, with good carbonation and a thick body that is chewy like a piece of fine toffee. Body is definitely on the heavy side but it complements the flavours rather than detracting.

Overall - an awesome old ale, that I'm thankful I've tried. Huge body and molasses flavours make this not the most well rounded beer but the malt dimension is so great on this that it doesn't matter. Definitely a beer for all beer advocates.

 1,183 characters

Photo of joshstevens87
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours an darker amber with a slim off white/tan head
S-a huge malt presence of molasses brown sugar and caramel and a sweet alcohol presence, with a bit of woody/earthyness and a touch of hops
T-a very sweet malt bill and an alcoholic presence with notes of caramel, brown sugar, and even a touch of vanilla, with an nice earthyness and a bit of wood very smooth and alot going on
M-a huge beer with a very smooth feel when combined with its sweet maltyness give its an almost sryupy feel
D-this is a delicious brew i tried mine after keeping it for about 4 months and cant wait to try the rest of the four packs over the next year, a great beer but way better with some age

 679 characters

Photo of danmouer
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Curmudgeon is a beautifully richand balanced example of the old ale/barleywine class of big brews. This is a beer to share with someone special on Christmas Eve. The ony things I feel might improve it a bit would be a touch of Brett and/or a few years of cellar aging.

Sweet, rich, aromatic, hugely malty but balanced by a generous spine of 50 IBUs of hops. I really plan tbo lay several of these down and drag them out in deep winter to warm my soul.

I am not a big fan of this style of beer, but this one is remarkable. Founders has done it right.

 552 characters

Photo of JMScowcroft
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Brewing Company - Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale), poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

Look - Pours a dark copper amber and ruby. Slightly hazy, no bubbles. Very minimal foamy head that dissipates almost instantly with little to no retention. Very little lacing.

Smell - Aroma is molasses and woody oak. Sweet malt.

Taste - Rich malt and molasses with a woody and sweet cherry finish. Sweet but the wood balances it out quite nicely.

Mouthfeel - Heavy-bodied with low almost cask-style carbonation. Only a touch of booziness for almost 10% is quite impressive. Sticky mouth coating.

Overall - This is a terrific homage to this style, a sweet molasses/cream/caramel/candy/cherry delight.

 695 characters

Photo of stephens101
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A wispy tan head covers this brown brew and some orange hues peek through.

Aroma is rich with brown sugar, cherry, and spice. Just as expected, and just right so far.

So flavorful with an abundance of ripened dark fruits, yeast, candy and spice followed by a striking alcohol heat, supporting bitterness and fleeting notes of vinegar in the end.

A potent, full-bodied, creamy sipper for finishing things off (whatever those things may be) on the right note.

 462 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 1/13/15 served at cellar temps in a tulip glass.

Appearance: light red or copper with a nice one finger head that sank to a rim of foam. Love the bottle art of the old salty sailor.

Nose: malty and sugary sweetness, fruity hop aroma, scotch ale sweetness and malt character, found and full nose

Taste: rich and robust, fruity, slight hot alcohols rom the fusels, great mouthfeel and kinda referencing when freshly poured, coats the mouth when warmer and the carbonation has gone. Lingering fruity and slightly bitter finish.

Overall: hmmmm... I didn't get the molasses. I do see how the thick mouthfeel would suggest a thick and rich syrup. Missing key ingredient aside, I really liked this is a great old ale/barleywine. It is kinda annoying that American Brewers can't use the name barleywine. They have to say "barleywine-style ale". They say this can be aged for a bit for added complexity. The malty backbone and alcohol content suggest this is a good collaring candidate. I'll hold on to the remaining 3 for a while and see how things change.

 1,068 characters

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a single 12 oz of this guy after really being impressed by the Breakfast Stout. I really dig the artwork of the labels, and always love me a stubby bottle. Poured into an oversize snifter after letting it warm to room temp a bit.

Curmudgeon entered the glass a milk, honey brown. Head is basically nonexistent, which is a cause for concern for this particular bottle. A thin film around the edges, leaving very minimal lacing. Also leaving much to the imagination is a lack of much in the sell department. Though, in its defense, as it warms they come more alive. Gooey caramel, spiced fig, and other sweet candied notes come alive, in what is obviously going to be a nice big malt bomb.

And a big malt bomb it is. My eye lit up instantly. After beginning to be let down by this brew, the taste really came in guns blazing. Curmudgeon begins by coating your tongue with a rye bread, moving to the back of the mouth releasing the sweetest of old ale yeastiness. Tons of sweet sugar, a big carame punch, and dark fruits. The finish is balanced out with a slighty grassy bitterness. Finish also is quite dry, keeping your hand in constant swing for more.

While starting slow, this one finished with a bang. Technically this isn't my favorite, but for sure I'll be loading up my closet with these.

 1,309 characters

Photo of havron
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled date of 02/05/2015. The man on the bottle looks a bit like my old college chemistry teacher, which is a bonus. Poured into a tulip and imbibed 12/18/2015.

L: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber-copper with a good khaki head that recedes to a thin persistent ring leaving slow downsliding lacing as a cavalcade of tiny bubbles continue to rise up through the elixir from the bottom of the glass.

S: Oak and toffee, with notes of molasses and dark fruits. Alcohol is perceptible but inviting rather than acrid.

T: Smooth oaky goodness for days, that only gets better and better as the beer warms. Over the continuous malty oak backbone a moderately alcoholic and carbonated pungency rapidly builds and then quickly recedes to reveal flavors of dark fruits and sweet molasses counterpointed by a background melody of earthy hops. Woody shades of oak linger long on the tongue. Quite pleasant.

F: Uncannily smooth, full-bodied with very little alcohol bite and absurdly quaffable for the ABV. Is this really 9.8%? Damn....yep. I am definitely feeling it toward the end of the glass. This stuff could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

O: Another solid ale from Founders. The premiere brewery from the state of my birth continues to represent the Pleasant Peninsula with first-rate brews. Rock on, you crafty ladies and gentlemen. Rock on.

 1,342 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased way back in Indiana in August, only to let it age further in my cabinet and then my fridge until today. Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a snifter. No bottling date - I'm still going to assume that this is 8-12 months old.

Pours a dark amber color, complete with about a half finger of frothy white head. Some large bubbles appear on the top, but due to the beer's age, soon dissipate. No bubbles show. Leaves behind good lacing, but no stickiness. Looks very viscous, and given the style and age on this thing, that's exactly what I'd expect.

Smells like a good sherry mixed with an English barleywine, and I'm most definitely going to credit the aging process in this case. No clue how this is fresh, but it's great as an old ale should be - notes of caramelized, dried raisins, dates, and apples meld with a an array of spices from the malts, yeast, and oak. Molasses is obvious, but cinnamon, honey, and nutmeg are pretty prevalent. Finishes with a dry, oak-laden sensation that reminds me of sherry - slightly oxidized, nutty, and bready. The hops are pretty much gone here, but the malt profile is shining. To be honest, this could only get better - the caramel and dried fruit notes are excellent, and more time will allow them to shine.

Tastes as smells, although the malty, bready finish does, in fact, remind me that this is a beer that I'm drinking instead of a sherry or marsala. Immediate notes of dried fruits, ranging from raisins to dates, and then a brief, bright showcase of caramel, toffee, and honey. Finishes wet, with some slight dryness from the oak and concentration of caramelized sugars. The brief molasses notes opens up a spicy, slightly bitter texture, and the oak notes at the end are filled with spices ranging from nutmeg to baking soda. Slightly lactic as well, as you would from a Chardonnay that's gone through malolactic fermentation. Finishes with an herbal, near cannabis tinged hoppy profile. However, the sugars are really subtle and only further compliment the dried fruit and bready (akin to fruitcake) characteristic that makes this beer unique. Very creamy and supremely easy to drink. Alcohol is very well hidden. Complex, but enjoyable.

Man, this is Founders' malt brilliance at full form here. I really wish I had tried the maple bourbon barrel aged version of this some years back. This is an excellent take on the old ale style, and it seems to only get better with age. A sipper, no doubt, but I should have had a damn cigar for this occasion. Absolutely, as with all of this brewery's malt forward beers, completely recommended.

 2,593 characters

Photo of brewdoc75
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm a huge fan of a good old ale. As I am planning to brew one this weekend, I thought I'd give this a try. I have a four pack squirreled away for aging. This is about 6 months old. I'm sure it gets better with age.

A: Amber to brown with beautiful amber hues. A minimal white head sits on top, but dies to nothingness quickly. Carbonation is light to medium.

S: Caramel, toffee, raisins, and plums. This is followed by a hint of oak and vanilla. Nice and complex. Very inviting.

T: Starts out with velvety caramel and toffee. This shifts to raisin and plum fruitiness. The end is full of vanilla and oak. The aftertaste has a hint of bourbon like flavors. The hops balance out the bitterness and add just a hint of citrus. Just enough alcohol to keep it warm and complex. Finishes with moderate, brown sugar sweetness. A very flavorful old ale.

M: Velvety, smooth, lightly carbonated and rich. Very nice.

D: This is a very nice old ale. Definitely one of my favorites. This one is a bit young, but still fantastic. I bet it will age with the best of em. The toughest part about aging this beer will be the waiting. It may not make it another year or two. If I see another 4-pack, I'm picking one up.

 1,206 characters

Photo of beveritt
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Thanks to NavyMSC for passing this one my way. I have had this in my fridge for a while and am just now getting around to sampling it. Poured from a stubby 12 oz brown bottle into a snifter. Label depicts and somewhat stodgy looking old man in all black. Not sure of the age, but does it really matter?

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 finger of tan head. This settles to a thin coating of foam and a few small islands randomly dispersed throughout the glass. The beer itself is a the color of tarnished copper, maybe a little darker. Cannot see through it, partially because of color and partially because of some suspended particulate matter. Some sediment in the bottle, makes me think I might have wanted to decant.

Smell: Alcohol sweet smell with hints of brown sugar and oak.

Taste: Wow, if I didn't know better, I would say this is aged in a whiskey barrel, so strong are the alcohol and oak flavors. The alcohol flavor is not unpleasant, but it definitely makes itself known as a sweet and slightly bitter flavor upfront. Tiniest hint of bubblegum esters, but mainly the taste is dominated by strong caramel malt and oak and vanilla flavors.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level, as expected from the style. Body is excellent.

Drinkability: A big and complex sipper. A little off-put by the floaties, but that could have been prevented by a proper decant. Alcohol is very forward, but not overwhelming. I imagine this would benefit greatly from some aging and I may have to throw some of this in the cellar with my North Coast Old Stock Ale.

 1,573 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Dark amber with a slight creamy head.
smell: Very nice malty, buttery, port like nose. Aged in oak? That's obvious in the nose.
taste: Oh man, the taste delivers what the nose projects and then some. Smooth oh yeah. I'm puttin a few of these back. What will a little time do to this beauty?
mouthfeel: full, creamy, silky.
drinkability: This one is dangerous. Almost too drinkable.
Is Founders great or what?

 421 characters

Photo of notafood
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown, thin off-white head with slight lacing.

A very complex nose. Sweet and malty, very fruity, with a caramel molasses feel. A perfume-ish sweetness on this one, vanilla probably. The alcohol, while I couldn't really smell it per se, it was detectable, it warmed my nose a bit. The thing is, everything blends so well. Smells like a really well made porter.

Rich malty sweetness with a bitter oaky finish. Kind of reminds me of the Podge Belgian Imperial Stout, which remind me of a stout/barleywine. Pretty dynamite stuff.

MF is very full, very heavy, a little bit sticky.

Drinkability - A great slow paced beer. Maybe not for everyone (my girlfriend - "That's, um, interesting") but will likely be a constant in my stock. I have a soft spot for Old Ales and I particularly liked this one more than some of the others I've had. Another excellent beer from Founders.

 891 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Caracole tulip. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a cloudy, dark-amber color. Sitting on top is a 3/4 finger of creamy, off-white head that leaves ample lace behind.

S: Subtle aromas of bourbon, vanilla, oak, and a touch of alcohol. Some caramel and sweet fruit as well.

T: Wonderful sweet caramel mixed with rich bourbon. Also noticed were dark fruit, coconut, chocolate, oak, apple, and vanilla. Whoa!

M: Very creamy and slippery. Oily and sweet, but just this side of being syrupy.

D: The alcohol is so well hidden, I wondered if it really was 9.3%. Heather said it reminded her of Backwoods Bastard. I'd definitely agree. This is much better than I remember from years past.

 729 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to BuckEyeNation

Pours a cloudy brownish color, quick fizzy head, nice carbonation, left some little islands around. The nose is of malts, vanilla, and bourbon. The taste is sweet slightly malty, very much bourbon, nice touch of vanilla. Medium body. Drinkable, quite a different old ale, but very tasty. Highly recommended.

 334 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,219 ratings.