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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

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2,871 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2871
Reviews: 1038
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%

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: 2,871 | Reviews: 1,038 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of FrognutUnl


3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours blurry nut brown in color (a little lighter than I would have expected) with a single finger head that dissipates to a foamy swirl. Nose is deep caramel and vanilla, not much else going on here. Taste is much like the nose with the addition of some hop bitterness and a slightly woody taste. The alcohol is very present, but not overly so for the style. The mouthfeel is a little thin compared to other old ales I have had. Drinkability is only so so on this one, the hops seem oddly placed, perhaps in another six months this will improve.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2008 04:20:10 | More by FrognutUnl
Photo of r0nyn

New York

3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter. Shared with fellow BAs infi, brun, NYManc and several others.

A coppery amber hue fills the glass, hazy but not cloudy, with a touch of gold around the edges. A modest quarter-inch head rises briefly before receding into the surface of the beer, leaving some loose, spotty lacing. From the first inhalation, the hefty booziness is evident, as it permeates the nose, but thankfully doesn't mask the rest of the aromas. Sweet and peaty nuances are detectable, ostensibly from the molasses, along with light hints of caramel and a little hint of vanilla.

Starts off with a mild bitter punch from the hops, followed by that distinct oak flavoring then... nothing. No alcohol, no malts, no anything. That's it. I might as well have been drinking water. There's a bit of a dry smack left on the tongue, but little else to remind you that you've been drinking a beer, one with close to 10% ABV, no less. Really quite in conundrum. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with the aforementioned dryness, but that's really about it. Not quite as ephemeral as the taste, but there you go.

Old Curmudgeon is a mixed bag for me. Looks good, smells nice, but just kinda mails it in tastewise. Not sure if that's what it should always taste like, but given what other people have said, it might be that I had a dodgy bottle. Will have to revisit this brew properly some other day.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 21:53:01 | More by r0nyn
Photo of Mojo


3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well this is the first Founders offering I just didn't like. It pours a hazy copper with about a one finger head and no lacing. Smell is apples, other sweet scents and alcohol. Mouthfeel is very thick. Taste is sweet with lots of alcohol on the finish. I don't mind high gravity beers, but I just feel the alcohol could have been better hidden. I felt like I was drinking bourbon. Sorry, but I don't really recommend this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2012 03:05:07 | More by Mojo
Photo of BMoney575


3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 12-11-07

Pours a super cloudy (and supery yeasty) red brown color. A filmy head sits in top, leaving rings of lacing.

Smell is sweet and earthy, with a complex quality that adds a huge amount of depth. Fruity, and slightly boozy.

Taste is an absolute shock. Thick, sour apple cider gives way to a sizable bourbon kick. I was not expecting this flavor at all, and it absolutely dominates the beer.

Mouthfeel is very good, super thick. You can taste the bourbon forever.

Drinkability is not so good, a hugely intense beer.

Overall, unexpected. The standard dark fruit flavors of an old ale were covered up entirely by the alcohol bourbon flavor. Maybe I'll enjoy the next one more, when I can see it coming.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2007 01:09:44 | More by BMoney575
Photo of timmay41


3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. The four-pack carrier claims it's 9.8% abv (vs. the 9.3% recorded here on the site).

A: Pours an intense, almost lurid dark orange-amber hue. Topped with a thin (less than one finger) bright white head.

S: Deep bourbon scents on the front of the nose, followed by almost simultaneous big malts, fruit sweetness, thick molasses, and a little hop character. There's a lot going on here, but it's almost too busy. Hard to distinguish or truly get a feel for. Making me rethink my previous experiences with this style and how Founders is trying to negotiate its way within those parameters.

T: Strong bourbon & alcohol bite dominates. I keep trying to find more subtle notes, but I'm having trouble. Big malt, a little bitter on the aftertaste.

M: Sticky sweet and thick, but not too thick. The mouthfeel doesn't distract from the brew at all.

D: I was excited to find this Founders offering and have generally liked the old ales I've come across, but this one didn't meet my expectations. Might try again down the road because it might be my palette, but not a favorite right now.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2009 04:58:20 | More by timmay41
Photo of degerbah


3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a light amber with little head. Very little smell, the taste is unique in my tasting experience. Extremely sweet with very little bitterness. The bottle lists an ABV of 9.8% which is not apparent in the taste, not boozy at all. I can't put my finger on it, but I think this beer just has something that isn't doiing it for me. I greatly prefer almost every founders beer I've had to this one. The price $2.79 per bottle wasn't too bad, still not great.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 00:26:55 | More by degerbah
Photo of BB1313


3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2011 vintage; no date. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a bright hazy amber/orange, great color. Decent white head, I wish it was bigger, nice lacing. The nose is very subtle, but opens up as it warms up. I'm picking up some spices, cinnamon and all-spice? I know it sounds odd, but that's what I'm sensing. It can also be found in the flavors as well, mildly. There are hints of chocolate and caramel giving it a sweetness. There's also hints of brown sugar and molasses. The oak isn't too noticeable, IMO. There's a nice bitterness, but everything is in moderation. The balance is there. Unfortunately, the flavors aren't that interesting. Mouthfeel is nice, pretty light for a high gravity beer; slightly creamy and smooth; not overboard on the carbonation. Old Ale, Barleywine.. whatever you want to call it, it's safe, nothing spectacular.

This isn't a bad beer, but it definitely didn't grab my attention. Although it's well-crafted, I expected more from Founders. Average beer from an above average brewery.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2011 02:29:42 | More by BB1313
Photo of Frozensoul327


3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out to a tea like hazy ruby color with a small head of tan foam that quickly dissipated. Aromas of whiskey, malt, vanilla, fermented grain, earth. Nice. Taste is fair; complex notes of whiskey and wood, with hints of burnt malts permeate the palate. Touches of raw grain and vanilla are noted on the finish. Mouthfeel is thick and heavy. Drinkabilty is fair. One is more than enough for me. The bourbon flavors are too overpowering, making this more of a liquor like experience, than a beer like experience.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2006 21:09:19 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of aggiearcher13


3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pour an amber-orange with a little bit of foam that disappears quickly.

S: Boozy caramel.

T: Hops, caramel, and and herbal sweetness. Too sweet for me, to the point of being cloying.

M: Very nice mouthfeel, great carbonation. Heavy body to it.

D: Take it easy on this one, I think it's a one per night kind of beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 04:50:56 | More by aggiearcher13
Photo of adamette


3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Live Review. Poured from the 12 oz. single that I bought at World Wines & Liquor in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago for $3.55 into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. No observed "best by" date.

A 3 inch creamy light brown head over a liquid caramel translucent body. Good look overall and it has that thick, syrupy look of all of the other Old Ales that I have tasted and rated. Edit: bump from 3.5 due to the nice lacing on the inside of the glass. 4.0

S Bready malt sweetness. It is like bread with maple sryup on top with an alcohol scent in the background. Not bad but pretty well in line with other Old Ales that I have experienced. 3.5

T The bread and sweet malt along with a warmth of alcohol show up in the taste just as they did in the taste. This is the classic taste of an Old Ale. 3.5

M Warm, full feeling beer with plenty of syrupy stickiness and depth and breadth. Again here, a fine aspect of the beer but one that I have come across often in the style. 3.5

D Not very drinkable to me with the huge feel (appropriate to the style but huge none the less) and the rather high ABV. 2.0

Notes: Pretty average version of an Old Ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2010 03:30:04 | More by adamette
Photo of crewfan16


3.25/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New to the style here, but have found all Founders beer to be enjoyable, so here goes nothing. Poured from a bottle to a pint glass

a-pours a deep amber/brown color. sort of mahogany or oak color. about an inch of foam that is slightly cream colored and descends with some light lacing.

s-oak, caramel sweetness, malty smell. not nearly as strong as I had anticipated

t-more oak. a little bit of bitter hoppiness, some caramel and lots of malt

m-for 9.8% abv, it doesn't taste too boozy. there is a little tingle on the tongue, but nothing more. carbonation seems a tad light, but it goes down very easily, very drinkable.

my first try at an old ale and I am sort of on the fence about it. It doesnt seem terribly balanced, as the oak is sort of overbearing. We will see if I like it more as the 4-pack dwindles, but presently, there are other founders brews i would rather reach for.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2011 03:35:39 | More by crewfan16
Photo of mhatters


3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at TND

Pours an amberorange color with some chestnut notes. Small, thin head that did not persist.

Lots of alcohol in the nose, whiskey dominates. After this dissipates some, the burnt sugar and caramel notes came through. A bit harsh.

Very sweet, raisin and dates come through too. The alcohol never far from the front, a bit too hot form me.

The sweetness, hotness, and fruitiness are too much for my liking - not bad, just not my taste.

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2009 21:59:16 | More by mhatters
Photo of bigfnjoe


3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Tick #200! Woohoo!

A- pours a murky, cloudy shade of orange with a half finger thick white head that fades pretty quickly. It looks really hideous, actually. Not a good start

S- smells pretty spicy actually, lots of toffee and roasted malts in there. Reminds me somewhat of a pumpkin ale...minus the pumpkin, of course. Interesting

T- very malty, lots of toffee and roasted malts...it almost seems to be too much. Little bit of an alcohol burn to it as well...not the biggest fan

M- decently thick. Maybe a little too much...

D- too malty and a little too boozy for my tastes. Definitely a sipper

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2010 00:49:26 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Old Curmudgeon pours out a hazy brown color topped with a medium sized head. The aroma is tropical fruits, dates, spices, and bourbon characteristics like oak, vanilla, and coconut. Sweet, malty flavor with lots of coconut and fruit. Finishes harsh and metallic. Perhaps this beer could use some aging to mellow it a bit. The flavor is spicier than I like, but it's still a good flavor. Mouthfeel is medium. Decent drinkability. This is an interesting beer, but with all the quality old ales and barleywines out there, there are better choices.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2006 19:23:24 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of infi

New York

3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Corsendonk tulip.

A dark, rustic copper body that forms an off-white/light-brown hued head with a generous pour. Each sip leaves decent thin strings of lacing upon the glass. First whiff reveals a distinct booziness, probably from all the fermented sugars the molasses has lent to the beer. Over the preliminary heat, the oak barrels shine through with those vanilla tannins that they impart. Those will never be an old aroma to me. Very impressive on the nose.

This is where the beer fell off for me. I don't know, but the ale was probably so old, it literally died. The taste begins with a nice mustiness from the oak barrels, followed by a slither of vanilla sweetness and then suddenly nothing. No more flavors. It's as if the beer evaporates into vapor after reaching the palate and tastes like you were never drinking anything to begin with. It's the weirdest sensation I've ever came across. I'm not sure if this really is a true intention/bad bottle/etc., but it's actually interesting. A ghost beer?

Curmudgeon has a medium body that leaves a bitter and dry sensation in the mouth. I'm probably spoiled after having Black Biscuit as my first Old Ale before this, but I don't remember BB having that same abnormality. Probably one of those wonders in the beer world. I'll definitely try it again to see if it's the same for all bottles.

#5 of 9.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 22:36:13 | More by infi
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Curmudgeon, full pint at Vintner Wine Market.

Appearance: Filled to the brim, with just under one finger of foamy and persistent head. Never dies! Tonsa lacing, great retention. Color is a slightly transparent chestnut-amber, shiny and engaging.

Smell: Quite a disappointment compared to the looks, with only a slight toasted feel, an odd metallic backup and some spice.

Taste: Follows nose, with a nice bread-and-biscuit feel and a spicy boozy end. Raw honey, a mellow hop touch and crème brulee. Vanilla. Odd but good mixture of sweet and tasty. Oak? None.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, flavor and carbonation. Spicy dry finish. Alright but average.

Overall: Nothing spectacular but quite drinkable. Closer to Dirty Bastard than Backwoods Bastard, sadly, and not up to the expectations.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2012 00:19:03 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of frankiepop


3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer does not live up to the hype that it lays out in my opinion. So start at the beginning:

Looks: Kinda bland actually. Pretty reddish tan. Below ave head

Smell: Again a little flat and unexciting. I get hints of a little oak, smidgeon of bourbon and maybe the molasses.

Flavors: Again a nice mild oak and a hint of bourbon. I do taste a molasses flavor but its very feint though a little underwhelming. I prefer something more like the Scottish Traquair House Ale, which provides more oak and sweetness and the bourbon flavors remain only a background hint.

I also found this beer to be a bit hot. Lotsa carbonation and alcohol burn going down so I marked down the feel here.

So what goes well with this beer? Well maybe the music curmudgeon of all time. That is right. jazz saxophone player son of a bitch Phil 'fuck you' Woods. I recommend an illegal download of his "Live at the Showboat" or a good version of his version of the tune 'Freedom Jazz Dance' from the lp "Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series"

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2013 17:45:01 | More by frankiepop
Photo of xgrigorix


3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Twelve ounce brown bottle, no dates.

Dark chestnut colour. Very thin tan head quickly fades to naught but a halo.

Rich caramel notes blend with a hint of fruitiness along with a bit of noticeable alcohol.

Slight fruitiness, reminiscent of figs, vanilla - the character of which makes me wonder if this was aged on American oak. Finishes sweet. Full bodied, slight carbonation. Not really what I'm looking for in an Old Ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 04:47:28 | More by xgrigorix
Photo of kbeals

North Carolina

3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sort of a viscous pour, very little head with a bit of lacing. Looks about the color of apple cider, some floaties. Smell is a bit citrusy with sweet malts, an alcohol smell makes quite a presence also. Tastes exactly like scotch, maybe a bit sweeter though, not much to this one. Chest is warmed up nicely from the alcohol, though. This is the first Founder's brew I probably would never buy again.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 01:50:19 | More by kbeals
Photo of TMoney2591


3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Honestly, this so-called "Curmudgeon" doesn't seem all that misanthropic to me. Just a colder-climate version o' good ol' Santiago. Something like that. Anyway, the beer pours a clear ruby, tinted slightly toward amber, topped by a short head o' ecru micro-foam. The nose comprises biscuits, walnuts, rich caramel, and a stinging underbelly of bright fruit. A healthy boozy feel slices through dully, marring the nasal proceedings. The taste continues the malty tradition set forth in the smell, in the process transmogrifying the fruit into a hoppy bitterness, strong and dull. A touch of leather rules the aftertaste. I can't call this a balanced flavor, but I won't go so far as to declare a state of koyaanisqatsi either. Hell, that damn droning is just annoying (and kinda boring after a while, too). Ahem. The body is a hefty medium, with a light carbonation and a very slight mouth-coating feel. Overall, an OK brew, but not one I would regularly pursue by any stretch of the imagination.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2010 04:47:16 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of smbslt


3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle (six months older than my first tasting) into a Duvel tulip. Thin head which exited quickly. Cloudy with quite a bit of particulates. A nice ruddy deep caramel color.

Smelled of burnt sugar, leather and a bit like an old bar -

Taste - very fortified distilled liquor taste but not and accompanying alcohol taste

Mouthfeel - Alcohol spread throughout mouth, throat and even felt a sensation in my eustachian tubes (I swear) but not the typical burning sensation - more like a vapor action. Very interesting.

Overall still a difficult style suited to a different type of beer drinker.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2011 02:50:14 | More by smbslt
Photo of tewaris


3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 02/24/09, sampled April, 2012. 12 oz split among three people.

Amber, hazy with some small chunks of sediment, medium head, and some legs upon swirling. Aroma is quite good: very sweet with caramel, malt, and some alcohol. Tastes sweet with some flavor (caramel mostly) and slight bitterness but pretty unremarkable all around. Silky feel with low carbonation and a rather dry finish for its size. Not a bad beer but not good either.

3.5, 4, 3, 4, 3

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 04:58:30 | More by tewaris
Photo of JamesS


3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice light copper color, but with no head and almost no lacing. Strong scent, but it's a hodge-podge of aromas; a huge maltiness with an interesting hop scent, with hints of cinnamon, caramel, and jerky, as well as alcohol. Strong, deep taste, but it has an odd varnish flavor to it, to go along with a deep pine malt. Goes down fine, with a bit of alcohol roughness. Not the best old ale I've ever had, or the best Founders; although I would never turn one down, either.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2008 00:15:55 | More by JamesS
Photo of SFC21


3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with bottled on date of 4/8/11. Poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Beautiful opaque, burnt siena colored body. virtually no head, though, even with a rather heavy pour.

S - Alcohol leads, but getting some figs, caramel, and dark cherry.

T - The alcohol really dominates the taste, with some hints of dark fruits, burnt toast, and baking chocolate.

M - Quite thick, almost syrupy.

O - Not bad but not great, especially at $16.99/4 pack. Pales in comparison to North Coast Old Stock.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2011 01:59:22 | More by SFC21
Photo of shbobdb


3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Old Ales brewed in America tend to be little more than Barleywines; alternatively, British Old Ales taste more like sherry than they do beer.

This offering is a hybrid of the two styles, and it is most unusual. There is a noticable hop presence, not overpowering, but unmistakably there coupled with strong nutty, oxidized notes.

The end result is actually vaguely whisky-like.

It tastes like somebody mixed Bigfoot Barleywine with Sandeman Oloeroso, in about a 50/50 split.

A bridge between the two beer worlds of America and Britain. Leave it to Founders to find a unique twist on an old style.

Interesting though it may be, I'm not sure I could see myself buying this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2006 22:41:20 | More by shbobdb
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,871 ratings.