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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.
very good

1,203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 4,289
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 979 | FT: 53
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  9.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,203 | Hads: 4,289
Photo of BeerDreadz
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pour in to a pint glass out of a 12 onz bottle.

Dark Caramel color with very little foam.

High alcohol level smell.

Caramel, milk chocolate like, nice after taste.

Feels kind of weird on the mouth, kind of carbonated with a very nice aftertaste.

I believe this beer is kind of over-rated . Not what i expected.

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Photo of smbslt
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

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Photo of JamesS
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%
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.

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Photo of portia99
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle (2007 vintage) poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Pours a muddy, particulate laden and well carbonated dirty amberish brown color. A skim coat of bubbles laces the surface with a small collar of fine tan bubbles rings the glass.

S - Smells very boozy, full of bourbon with richly caramelled malt. This smells very alcoholic...smells like a shot of bourbon in my glass more than anything. A bit of wood creeps into the aroma, but other than that, not much complexity.

T - Yep...pretty boozy here too. I get bourbon that is watered down a bit by some malty sweet beer. If I didn't see it poured from the bottle, I'd be skeptical of what I am drinking. This bottle is 3 yrs old and it still seems like it needs some more time to mellow.

M - Bourbony heat...definitely feeling a burn in my throat as this one goes down. Carbonation looks pretty lively in the glass, but I really don't get much of anything in the feel...seems almost still. Body is pretty full, but still less than I would expect out of a beer of this intensity.

D - One of these is plenty in a session. It isn't bad by any means, but it is purely one dimensional and I could have gotten roughly the same experience out of a bourbon and water. Wish I could say there is a bit more in here, but it is pretty basic in its complexity.

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
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.

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Photo of tewaris
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
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

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Photo of shbobdb
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

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Photo of drunkenmess
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a nice dark golden honey color. Off white head with light lacing. Smells of sweet Ale and oak.
Taste is a strong, boozy, over sweet bourbon or oaky beer. Not a big fan of this one but thats my opinion. I prefer stouts aged with bourbon but thats me. Still, I respect Founder's and all their offerings. Hit or Miss...

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this as a generous extra. Bottle from 2008.

Poured into giant Dogfish Head snifter. Hazy brown with a hint of red. Not much head, but that always happens with this glass and all the surface area.

Not a very powerful aroma here. A hint of sweet citrus, like orange candy or something like that.

The taste is surprisingly hoppy for the age and style. Nice sweet start to the beer and it hints at maltiness, but the finish is bitter citrus with a hint of tartness that adds complexity. Very enjoyable to sip on.

Average mouthfeel; not too carbonated which works well for the ABV. This is a great sipper I'd love to compare to a fresh bottle. I really liked this a lot.

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Photo of infi
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

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Photo of semibaked
3.41/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Well this is my first review of a beer and I am sure it won't be very good. :)

A - Maroonish Brown color and very little head

S - Smells a little like floor cleaner with light grape juice

T - Tastes much better than it smells, good raisin and caramel flavors, there is kind of a sharp funky taste that is a little off putting though.

M - Very good, smooth and creamy

D - Glad I only bought a single, definitely something I am thankful for trying but certainly 1 will be enough for me.

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Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not much of a head, but minor lacing. As you swirl the glass you can see the carbonation seep out.

Smells of oakie caramel.

Very strong alcohol. Vanilla oak, caramels and a strange bitter twang following. There is something about the twang that reminds me of a good blue cheese.

Thick creamy mouth feel; quite luscious. Leaves your mouth and lips with a sticky syrupy film.

Too much to handle. I had two in one night and felt like I had been drinking all day and night. Very strong.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky bronze color with a modest cap of khaki froth. Malty aroma smells of molasses, caramel, booze, and hint of milk chocolate.

The taste is on par with the aroma, with caramel and molasses up front, warming alcohol, raisins, and earthy, herbal hops. There's also a bit of cough syrup to be found as well. Some wheat/grain husk comes through in the finish. This beer is not short on flavor, that's for sure. Mild carbonation gives it something of a stagnant, oily mouthfeel despite the medium body.

This is the only "old ale" I've ever tried, but as far as I can tell, it's pretty similar to a Scottish ale. If you like sweet, malt-forward beers, this should be enjoyable. That happens to be a little skewed for my tastes, but it's still another engaging offering from Founders nonetheless. I'd be curious to try it with a year or two of age under its belt.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby red with visible sediment floating about. Light tan head lingers around the edges.

Not very aromatic. Little toffee, toasted malts, and alcohol heat.

Upfront taste is slightly sweet toffee, caramel, raisin-like fruit, and toasted malts. Little alcohol present. Finish is toasty and boozy with some molasses but not that sweet. Lingering molasses flavor.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly syrupy. Hint of alcohol heat at the finish.

A good sipper with nice complex flavor. Aroma leaves something to be desired. A beer I'd have to be in the mood for to have again.


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Photo of BMMillsy
3.44/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a re-rate. Got a funky bottle the first time, I think. Pours deep amber brown with a small yellowish head on top. Aroma is molasses, oak, HUGE malt, and actually a bit of dark fruit. Very low carbonation, and a thick viscous mouthfeel. Flavor is all malt forward with a definite oak presence. Sweet and sticky, with the sweet coming from a combination of caramel malt and some fruit flavor. Will certainly warm you with the alcohol, though it isn’t too assertive. I can appreciate the massive malt presence, but I’m not sure I believe this is "balanced", as Founders claims. Still not a huge fan of this one, but certainly better than the first bottle I had (that one got a 1.8). Up front it is a bit much, but it can grow on you a bit as you sip through

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Photo of mocktm
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/21/2011, into a pint.

Dark amber red in appearance, hazy with little to no head, pretty lousy carbonation as well. Looks thick, syrupy and viscous.

I'm having a really hard time getting past the booze on this, although there are faint hints of burnt sugar, molasses and some raisins. However, the booze are a really dominating presence.

As with the nose, heavy booze with some caramel and vanilla sweetness on the finish. A bit of smoke and woodiness as well, finishing hot from the alcohol with no signs of hop bitterness to be found. Age would probably be very kind to this one.

Definitely full bodied and rather thick. Combined with the booziness, this is a sipper all the way.

Not a huge fan of this one, but with some age, maybe the booze will fade and the malt can become more prevalent to create a better balance. Probably my least liked beer I've had from Founders.

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Photo of danielocean03
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a thick, cloudy auburn brown with little or no head to speak of, leaves the faintest little beige ring of sticky lace. Moderate sediment floats about, can be seen with a reddish hue when held to the light. Smells deeply of sweet malt,grain, dark ripened fruits, earthen notes, walnuts. Taste is also sweet and malty, resinous woodiness and nutty. Figs and dates, along with brown sugary alcohol flavor. Leaves a slightly drying aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full bodied with very low levels of carbonation, viscous, syrupy like smoothness. Drinkability is decent, a little too sweet all around, nice level of complexity pairs with a hard to detect 9.3% abv. Not a bad old ale, but I've had better. Recommend trying.

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Photo of scratch69
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured a glass into a snifter.

Appearance- Dark copper color with a fingers worth of head. Small amount of lacing.

Smell- Syrup-like sweetness with hints of caramel, oak, and citrus.

Taste- Sweet with a strong alcohol presence on the first swallow. The alcohol mellows after the first drink and allows the other flavors to come through. I detect molasses, caramel, sweet malt, hints of oak and dark fruit. Very complex and well blended.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and smooth. Very little carbonation.

Overall- The alcohol flavor was a little offputting at first, I'm glad it disappeared after the first swallow. I'm not sure if I'm a fan of this style. Decent but I probably won't buy this again.

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Photo of JDizzle
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark auburn that looks pretty damn good. Not much head, but lacing is good.

The aroma is underwhelming.... Not much gong on here but sweet malt. vanilla, alcohol, and carmel.

Not what I was hoping for. Really comes off like a Belgian?? I got a little oakiness, but it's not overwhelming. I get a little vanilla with a some dark fruits and that's about it. OK

Mouthfell is solid and fairly thick. Carbonation is low and that's OK for this style.

Not a homerun, but a decent beer I won't seek out again. There are too many other beers out there for the price.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield so I though it was time to give it a try. 12 ounce stubby bottle with an old man on the front.

A: Pours murky red with brown highlights. No foam buld-up on the initial pour but after the pour, small bubbles came to the top leaving a tan ring and dotted lacing.

S: Smelled of bready yeasts, sweet malts, light cinammon, bananna, vanilla, caramel and a bit of mustiness.

T: Full flavored blast of sweet, caramelized malts - Malts all over the place followed by subdued flavors including spice, bananna and vanilla. Slight warming alcohol becomes present after allowing the beer to warm to room temperature.

M: Full bodied and oily. Finshes very wet with the slightest amount of bitterness and low carbonation.

Interesting and enjoyable. Good example for the style.

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Photo of hoppymeal
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber to brown in color with a very small tan head that quickly fades back. Aroma doesn't do a lot for me, there is just the faintest hint of raisins, but I mainly get a sweet maltiness with some boozy alcohol, not bad, just not overly complex. Taste follows suit although has a little more going on. There is a sweet grape-raisin flavor along with nice sugary caramel sweetness. The alcohol is evident and nicely warms the back of the throat on the first couple sips. Medium sugary body is well balanced by a lightly spicy alcohol presence and a decently dry finish.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) is a decent old ale that doesn;t take the style that far.

A: Orange colour and decent head that fades to edge lacing. 4

S: Oxidised cardboard with some malt. 3.25

T Oxidised cardboard flavour into dark malt and alcohol aftertaste. 3.5

M: Not especially carbonated. 3

O: Decent old ale but lacks that ridiculous sweet alcohol flavour that makes and old ale distinctive. Takes like an old oxidised DIPA. 3.5

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Photo of bs870621345
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an amber color with minimal head. Leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

Smells like fruits molasses, caramel, maybe a slight pine hint from hops. Very much a malty beer that is pretty damn good.

Taste is like molasses, alcohol, fruits, gentle funk I think, and a light pine in there. Its rather fruity and sweet with a gentle hopping to counter.

Mouthfeel is thick, full and sticky. Not overly carbonated, as expected.

The drinkability suffers a bit because of the alcohol burn in there. I find that it is this way with a lot of founders beers.

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Photo of Chaney
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a brandy sniffer.

A: Hardly any head, with a burnt orange appearance.

S: Caramel, dark fruit (raisons, figs, dates) with a little bit of oak. The alcohol is hot!

T: On my first sip, I tasted nothing but oak and alcohol. More bitterness than sweetness. Later, I detected maple and brown sugar. Is there bourbon in this?

M: The alcohol burns the mouth, which I did not find pleasant. The texture is very thick and almost chewy.

D: The ABV is definitely detectable and then some! Even though this style is supposed to be kind of hot on the palate, this overstays its welcome in that department. Once my mouth got used to those flavors, it got better.

Overall: I've had this one a couple of times before and I really want to cheer for it each time because Founders is one of the best in the biz. However, even after analyzing it in my session, this still remains one of my least favorite Founders brews.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
3.49/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into glass snifter.

$4.00 / ea.

A: Cloudy burnt orange body topped with a small off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving no lace and only a ring of cover.

S: Molasses, pecans, raisins, and traces of booze. Very full aroma tending towards sweet maltiness. You can tell it will be potent before it ever hits your lips.

T: Sweet molasses and brown sugar malt profile dominates. The alcohol is well masked, but the underlying potency is obvious. The hop profile is very weak compared to the malt bill, but tends toward a resinous piney flavor. Aftertaste is brief, and does not build.

M: Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slight initial bite. Viscous and coating on the tongue, but does not build over time.

D: A sipping beer to be sure. The flavor is pleasant, but the strength can not be denied. One, maybe two while you relax.

O: Solid offering, but nothing special. I've had better from both the brewery and the style.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,203 ratings.