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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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3,832 Ratings
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Ratings: 3,832
Reviews: 1,128
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 151
Gots: 752 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,832 | Reviews: 1,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jabergess
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type - tulip glass, on tap

Appearance - typical for a barley wine. Medium brown with little head.

Smell - raisins, caramel, sweet.

Taste - this is the exciting part. Same as the smell, but with an alcohol warmth. The flavor is rich and heavy and coats the tongue, but in a good way.

Mouthfeel - exactly what I would expect for this style.

Drinkability - give me 5 more, but you'll have to drive me home.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 ounce goblet - $9.00 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Dispensed into a simple, all-purpose goblet a hazed, mahogany-hued body with a scant, white head.

Smell: A rich, invitingly malty nose smelling of caramel, chunks of toast, and brown sugar stirred up into cake batter. Fruity notes of citrus, cherries, and green raisins punctuated by some stinging alcoholic wafts.

Taste: The lush, tempting sweetness of heavily caramelized sugars with additional tastes of toasted bread, light brown sugar, and spiced holiday cake. The fruitiness from the aroma is well-represented in a taste of raisins marinated in cherry liqueur and spiced with a bit of dried orange peel. Moderate bitterness provides a bit of balance, though this one remains fairly on the sweet side of things. Soft, sweet finish with plenty of alcohol warmth rolling in.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a mouthfeel both smooth and a bit sticky. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Bold AND beautiful. A quality sipper, even on a day in South filled with 100-degree heat and 100-percent humidity.

Photo of violanojblues
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark amber/honey brown. pretty cloudy (i think i got a little too much yeast in my glass). i heard there's not much head on these so i poured it somewhat aggresively. the result was a nice light tan head which hung around pretty long and left little lacing.

Smell - wow! very sweet, vanilla and butterscotch-y with a boozy finish.

Taste - not as complex as it smelled. a really nice barrel-aged strong ale. not over-flavored as some beers in this catagory can be. very clean tasting.

Mouthfeel - kinda light with a mellow boozy aftertaste. slightly chewy.

Drinkability - very smooth. the sweetness works well with the 9.8% ABV.

a nice sipper on a crisp, autumn, michigan evening.

i look forward to buying this again.

Photo of ZeroSignal
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A - Pours a rich amber with very little head that quickly retreats to the edges of the glass. No real lacing to speak of.

S - Very malty with a corn husk and whiskey/bourbon character. Some alcohol evident in the nose.

T&M - All the nose elements come through in the taste as well. Slightly phenolic with a tannin woody presence. Warmth in the back of the throat, medium-full body with a thick feel. Very little carbonation, bourbon sweet in the finish

D - Surprisingly easy to drink for such a high ABV beer with big, bold flavors. I think I could go for a 2nd one.

Photo of 404UGA
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was slightly disappointed when pouring this beer into the glass, as it had a small, fleeting head and was a clear reddish color. After beginning to sip, however, my disappointment left about as quickly as the beer's head. The beer smelled had a pleasant, alcohol laden smell. Kind of had a hint of whiskey to it. The taste is maltier than I expected given the color, but its not overwhelming. Again, kind of reminds me of a good bourbon. It isn't the smoothest beer in world, but is still pleasant. Very drinkable, and overall a great beer. Would gladly have another.

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a squat Founders 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter glass.

Pours a rich copper color, with a thin skin of head that quickly dissipates to a ring of head clinging to the glass.

Has a buttery, bready smell. There are notes of caramel, toffee, and malt.

Buttery in taste and texture, this is a rich beer. Toffee, alcohol, and straw combine for a taste that is "old", yet deeply complex. This is definitely a "fork and knife" beer.

This has a thick mouthfeel that adds to its depth in character.

Definitely a sipper, I don't think I could have two of these in a week, let alone in one night. However, it is enjoyable if you're in the mood for a hearty brew.

Photo of Axic10
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber hue with two fingers of fluffy foam that settles after a while.

Smell: Malty sweetness that comes across with raisin, cinnamon, toffee. Great aroma.

Taste: Sweet bready malt, raisin, toffee, slight vanilla as it warms. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a slight stingy-alcohol burn at the end.

Drinkability: While I can't see this being an everyday beer, I definitely will enjoy this again. I have 3 bottles left from my 4 pack that I want to age a little bit.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - It pours a ruby-russet hue, quite translucent, with a short-lived white head and not much lace.

S - Caramel, toffee, and naked barley are balanced by a slightly floral hop. I can't really recall how this is any different than Dirty Bastard, though hit seems a bit more well-rounded. The nose becomes less appealing as it airs out, though.

T - In addition to the character expressed in the nose, there are elements of vanilla and a perceptible earthiness. This brew tastes like the stepping stone between Dirty Bastard and Backwoods Bastard, to put it simply.

M - Silky and smooth, slightly larger than medium-bodied, and with a booziness the leaps out beyond the finish.

D - Quite nice, though I prefer my Old Ale to be bitterer (and therefore hoppier.) Believe it or not, 'bitterer' is a word (according to MicrosoftWord) and it is more preferable in usage than 'more bitter'. So please go back, fellow BAs, and correct your verbiage in prior reviews, as I have done here.

Photo of billab914
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a murky brown red color with a thin white scattered lacing floating on top of the beer. It left some great spotty lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has some dark fruit, raisin & plum like flavors to it. It has a sweetness to it as well in the nose. Some alcohol comes through as well but not too bad. Pretty nice overall.

The taste has a nice malty, dark fruit characteristic to it. It's moderately sweet and also bready. It finishes with more of the dark fruit flavors as well as a bit of a warming alcohol presence. Very nice and flavorful beer overall.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being low. Drinkability is good, it was a very nice beer to sip on tonight after dinner. It had some great malty flavors to it and the alcohol wasn't bad at all for the abv%. Very enjoyable beer overall.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ copper color with an off white head. In the aroma, oaky vanilla and malt. In the taste, oak, vanilla, a pinch of bourbon like flavor and small alcohol notes. A smooth body and medium to lighter mouthfeel, with a small dry alcohol and oaky aftertaste. Looks lighter than expected, and the mouthfeel is a bit thin too, but nice flavor!

Photo of Agold
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is darker amber with a little bit of redness. The smell is a complex blend of raisins, maple syrup, and a bit of cinnamon that i may or may not be hallucinating. The taste is sweet, but not overly so, with maple syrup, dark wine, and toffee with the alcohol nicely balanced. The mouthfeel is thicker with a small amount of carbonation. A good sipping beer, which evolves as it warms. Very enjoyable.

Photo of adamette
3.23/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

Photo of steve8robin
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at a tasting before and was not too crazy about it. Decided to get a bottle and do an official review. 12oz bottle...

A: Beautiful deep murky copper with a small off white head that fades slowly. Good.

S: Smells like a decent old ale. Sweet sugary malts upfront blended with hints of bready raisin, cherry, and banana. Alcohol bite on the backend. Very Good.

T: Takes a strange turn here. Starts with a very dry metallic taste followed by hints of sugary malt and some dark fruit. Ok.

M: Does not leave a whole lot on the palate. What it does leave is good. Medium body. Good.

D: Once you get past the interesting metallic taste, it goes down good.

All in all, this brew definitely followed suit with the first time I tried it. Just ok, not much special in this one. Not worth hunting and do not make this a priority to try if you have access.

Photo of drabmuh
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra from jsanford, thanks Jacob. Served in a Bruery tulip. Beer is brown and hazy and forms a thin broken nearly non-existent head even after a rough pour. Looks OK.

Beer smells caramelly slightly alcoholic. Smell is really nice.

Beer is thick and syrupy. Very heavy. Its strong and heavy on the palate. This is much bigger than I expected but its still good. Overall an enjoyable big strong ale.

Photo of socon67
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found a 4 pack tucked away in the local distributor. With anticipation of how well Founder's brews are rated I gave it a try.

A - Dark amber, with a decent cream colored foam. A noticably low amount of carbonation.

S - Lots of different things going on. Very strong whisky smell with hints of toffee and vanilla. A very complex combination.

T - Besides the tastes of what I smelled there was also some butterscotch. I find the potency of this style a bit too much; it overwhelms the other flavors. Too bad.

M - The lack of carbonation makes this an easy beer to work on. Given the high ABV that is a welcome thing.

D - One of these is enough at a time. It is an enjoyable experience, but I doubt I'd get the same kick out of a second. Not a session beer; enjoy this baby one at a time and let the others age.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Photo of Blitzen15
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Let it be known that this is one REALLY dark brew. After opening the bottle you know you are in for something different because this stuff slides down your glass very slowly.

S - Never before have I smelled a beer like this one. From thirty feet away my dad new I was drinking an ale strong enough to choke a strict lager drinker or possibly incapacitate a lightweight.

T - After the sights and smells of this one hit me in the face I had braced myself but the brace was not necessary here. The taste is really quite good. My adjunct-lager drinking associates were not impressed because it has a bit of bite to it but I enjoyed this.

M - Thick. Really thick. If I were to prepare myself again, it would be for the consistency. I like a thick brew but this beer is made to drink for bragging rights like excessively hot wings that few people really enjoy.

D - The taste is different from other old ales but good, the over powering scent is just cool and something to behold. The thickness of the beer made for a very unique experience so I would love to have another if not for the price.

Purchased at: Ladd's & Co.

Served: 7JUL2010

Photo of birchstick
3.72/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a reddish amber with a 1/2 finger head

S - spicy cherries, old leather, loads of malts, some cinnamon, and booze

T - The taste follows the nose, but not as well as I would have liked. The flavors start with some vanilla and cherries, and leather and mustiness. The maple is there, but it is very subtle. These blend together to make a very complex, rich sipper of a beer, although I think it is still a little too hot right now. I am going to let the other three sit for a while longer.

M - this had little carbonation and a thin body. Also, the booze could have been a little more hidden.

D - Curmudgeon is a pretty decent Old Ale. Definitely a sipper with a bunch of flavors going on. I can't wait to see what this is like in a year...

2009 Vintage - 4.5 years old:
The nose has turned into a much more tobacco and leather aroma with less of the malty sweetness and vanilla I picked up yesterday. It's a touch soy saucy upfront but as it goes down there is rich caramel, leather, tobacco, spicy dark fruit, and a touch of vanilla. It reminds me of some of the best old ales and less hoppy barley wines I have tried.

Different flavor profile than the '10 had, but I think better - I am going to say this is the best flavor combination I have tasted in this beer. It could go on for longer, but maybe 2 more years at most before it started to fall apart.
2010 Vintage - 3.5 years old:
It pours a redder color than when fresh; the nose has noticeably diminished to a shell of itself - some oak and mellow vanilla notes are present, though; the taste, however is superb - malty, caramelly sweetness upfront moves on to a slight tobacco, cognac, and toasted/burnt malt flavor ; this finishes with a slight aged hop bitterness mixed with oak, and a really nice vanilla pop. Fantastic taste! The alcohol has noticeably settled and makes for a very easy drinking ale.

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to sweemzander for hooking me up with this one.

12oz bottle poured into standard pint.

A- Pours a burnt orange with some nice reddish hints. Just a slight haze to it. A finger's worth of head that leaves a small cap on the beer.

S- A decent bit of malt and some alcohol is picked up right away. Also a combination of meat and or pork with a touch of dish soap. I would have to say it is a little off putting.

T- I still pick up a big dose of pork and soapiness. Beyond that, slight hops and a little sweetness with some butterscotch and some maple syrup.

M- Medium bodied that feels like it has barely any carbonation. Relatively smooth on the tongue.

D- I can't say that I would reach for another one of these but you are supposed to age it and so I will and see where it takes me. There is just a weirdness right now that makes me want to stay away.

Photo of DoctorB2B
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a beautiful copper with slight off-white head that was about a 1/4 inch. In looking at it more carefully, I find what looks like material suspended within the beer ... pretty cool.

S: First and only thing I really got was malt. No citrus to speak of, just malt

T: Alcohol smacked me in the face with the first sip. It wasn't overbearing, just didn't know it was coming. It's very thick and syrupy. Little bit of a fruit flavor, that I can't distinguish because of the overpowering warmth in my mouth.

M: Thick and viscous ... coated my mouth nicely.

D: I'll get another one and hold onto it for a long while .... let it get even older. I think perhaps this one was a bit too young.

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tasting glass

A: A deep red body with a slightly tan head with good retention.
S: Bold aroma with hints of toffee and brown sugar.
T: Great overall strong taste, a good complex beer. Hints of brown sugar really come through.
M: Full bodied taste with a thick creamy mouthfeel. Also the complex flavors are released during the lingering taste.
D: An all around great strong beer, not too over the top but a very enjoyable brew

Photo of herman77
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark orange with some brown. Slight haze to it. Light tan head. Decent amount of fine bubble/spider web lacing.

S: Malt. Honey, oaky, slight whisky/alcohol. Strong dates smell as well.

T: Honey, oak/woody. Very strong candied toffee and carmel malt. Maple syrup? No real sign of hops or bitterness. It kind of tastes like a candied walnut. Boozy near the finish. Alcohol is present, but not overly present. Its defiantly there though. A malty bomb for sure.

M/D: Medium to fuller body. Pretty smooth over the palate. Low, and very soft carbonation. Drinkability is pretty low for this since its a malt bomb. Intense woody and candied malt flavors and the alcohol factor bring down the drinkability. More of a sipper. Something about this makes me think of fall. Its good, but I can't see myself ever having more then one in a night.

Photo of EtOHMD
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had as a single in a mix 6 pack of Michigan beers. Cool label that fits the name. Pours a golden orange, bit hazy, no head or lacing. Sweet oak whiskey smell. Very inviting. Taste follows nicely with whiskey and dried dark fruits. Warm mouthfeel with much smoother taste / feel than the alcohol content would suggest. Could drink a few.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a DFH snifter.

A - Pours an oily and viscous nice dark amber color with some nice orange hues. Very unexpected color spectrum for an Old Ale. Very nice. Minimal .25 inch head that vanishes quickly leaving a thing ring.

S - Delicious bready and grainy malt sweetness that is surprisingly enveloped in som grassy hops. There is also a very nice and boozy sweetness along with some fruits such as pineapple and some nice grape as well.

T - Very much an old ale! Very nice sweet malt with some caramel, honey and nice vanilla bean flavors. Some other midl spices can also be felt but they are controlled by the sweetness. Nice boozy flavors and warmth. Very delicious Old Ale.

M & D - Very oily and viscous nice full body. Dangerous drinkability for a beer with such high ABV.

Photo of honestdave
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a favorite ale glass

A: Old copper kettle color with slight head. Head fades quickly.

S: Sweet smelling like cotton candy with strong alcohol hit. This is an 9.8% ABV beer!

T: Just slightly bitter with a mild roasty and sweet aftertaste. The alcohol comes through as part of the aftertaste of this brew.

M: A medium+ mouthfeel. A bit syrupy in feel. This is pretty close to what I would consider full bodied.

D: Fairly good drinkability. Would like a bit more carbonation to cut the high alcohol and syrupy feel.

Summary: I like this ale for it's immediate alcohol slam. I'm sitting here on Father's Day afternoon and enjoying the good buzz as I finish this beer. I'm sitting in my screened in porch and waiting for my Old Curmudgeon neighbor to walk by so I can yell something rude at him. This ale brings out the best in me! Founder' remains one of my favorite brews for flavor, quality and unique variety of beers.

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,832 ratings.