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

1,196 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,196
Hads: 4,244
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 184
Gots: 959 | FT: 55
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
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Reviews: 1,196 | Hads: 4,244
Photo of bahumutx
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper with hardly any head.

Smell: Great aroma! Caramel, cream, dark fruit, vanilla and slight alcohol. There is also a brandy like aroma that is present.

Taste: Starts with a nice sweet malt flavor that resembles caramel. Goes on to an alcohol flavor and ends with a nice roasted malt flavor. There are some slight flavors of dark fruit and brandy.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel. Somewhat creamy with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Due to the higher alcohol and complexity of flavor this is definitely a sipper in my book.

Another great beer from Founders. I enjoyed this on a cold November night and it did the trick of warming me up. An great example of the style.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is murky brown with almost no head (the little foam that did exist was light tan colored). The smell was rich, malt + plums/raisins. The taste was even richer, a little like a really strong version of an English barleywine. Lots of dark fruits (mainly raisins) and malty sweetness, with a little alcohol burn. Thick mouthfeel, substantial beer, easy to see why it's rated highly. Old ales aren't my favorite, they're good once in a while, I pretty much tried this one because it was made by Founders. As usual they did a great job.

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby color with a creamy off white head. Decent retention with some clingy lacing.

Sweet aroma overall. Dark fruit and molasses are picked up easily up front. Oak aged also has left its mark on the smell.

Big malt up front. Sweet thick maltiness you can expect from an old ale. Warming alcohol is noticeable but not overly done. There is an earthiness imparted from the oak. Dark fruit flavors are there but not as dominate as the smell would suggest.

Medium bodied and low carbonation. Does drink smooth but is definitely a sipper.

Very enjoyable to brew to enjoy over time. Not one to go back to after finishing the first.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a quite foggy rubyhued amber with a thick creme head. Nose is minimal with caramel and dark fruits and a malty overall tone. Slight bit of booze. Flavor carries a kick of liquid aspects (boozy burn) with an earthy tone. Dark fruits. Sweet tone. Feel is thicker on liquid and low on carbonation. For an old ale, this seems a bit...young. It's nice, but I think 2-3 more yearsmight do it justice.

Thanks to spointon for this one!

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to fogdog for this bottle.

Appearance: Pours a murky, dark reddish-amber, with a slowly-coagulating, creamy, khaki-colored head. Lots of suspended yeast sediment floating around. Head doesn't last long; becomes a wispy ring of bubbles. Leaves decent lace.

Smell: Dark berries, molasses, oak, fruity esters, bready yeast, raisins and spices. As I sit here sniffing it, the dark fruits and bread aromas really start coming forth. Maybe a little bourbon as well. Great balance and mixing, though I wish it were a tad stronger.

Taste: Lots of warm bread, caramel, and spice. Dark fruit flavors are there but a bit subdued, especially when compared to the smell. Sweet molasses and bourbon flavors fill in very nicely. Flavors meld very well, just like in smell.

Mouthfeel: Slick and somewhat syrupy, yet watery. Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Feels a bit gritty with all of the yeast sediment. Great mouth-numbing and good warming as well.

Drinkability: A milder flavor and smell than I'm used to, thus making it more than just a sipper. Not the best old ale I've had, but one that's worth a try. Wish there was a little more umph to it.

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Photo of dschuster03
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For my first official BA review, I'm choosing the Founders Curmudgeon. Why? I have no idea. Ever since my middle school hay days I have loved the word, Curmudgeon - although at the time I was rather oblivious to its meaning, and merely fond of the similarly titled Nirvana B-side.

For quite some time in my beer loving days I had searched high and low for this beer. I worked to set up a number of trades to pick just one up to try, each inevitably falling dead in their own tracks. Then one day, as if the gods themselves had been watching my search, it just showed up. And I'm not talking about a trip to Grand Rapids I took in search of the beer (to no avail), nor stops on the same trip to handfuls of local Michigan beer stores (again to no avail), and I'm not even talking about a happen-chance finding of a single bottle in the back room of a store no one would have ever thought to find the brew. No. I mean it just showed up. Seriously - right now, it's all over Cincinnati. I mean everywhere. How about that for serendipitous notion? But hey, I'm not complaining! And either way, it showed up, and then it found its way into my cellar - from the looks of it by the truckload at that.

But I digress. I poured this beer before even navigating to the review page here on BA and my taste buds are getting impatient. It is worthy to note that I have poured my Curmudgeon at cellar temperature into a deep stemless white wine glass - my glass of choice of lately for enjoying anything as particularly malty as this.

This beer pours a beautiful, deep red mahogany, and quickly gathers a finger and a half of light brown head. The head dissipates a little too quickly, but leaves an amoeba of lacing griping tight to the glass. There is a touch of standing sediment hanging out in the beer, but nothing to frown upon for this style.

The smell! This one knocks in with some thick, boozy notes that are backed up by caramel, molasses, deep grape, and, although I can't touch what this particular flavor is, I will describe the overall smell as "burnt sticky caramel corn." I am fighting the urge to find the correct words to describe this beer with my desire to toss this one down the hatch. And in that case... bottoms up!

Burnt Sticky Caramel Corn is pretty accurate if you ask me! The Old Curmudgeon hits the tongue with a quickly waning hit of fresh hops, grazes the tongue gracefully through its candy-like mid-body and rushes down the back of the throat almost like it wasn't even there. This one sits on the tongue after finish and simply bubbles for a while, asking for another sip. The sweetness sits with a light glaze through the mouth and reaffirms my newly coined burnt sticky caramel corn flavor profile. Plus some plum... yeah, a little bit of plum. Once it goes down, though, it's like I'm breathing fire here. Not like some crazy burn-down-the-house fire; more like a sitting by the campfire making s'mores (s'more what?) fire. The booze sits nicely and keeps the warming coming quite nicely. I could take this one out in 40 degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt and keep warm. I like that.

As much as I really like this beer, I'd love to have a little more variety in flavor aside from the aforementioned notes. For what is there, however, I can certainly appreciate the flavors, and there is nothing about this one that says, you can't have just one. On a good night with some good company, I could sip on these for quite some time. Well worth the wait to finally try these, and I am more than appreciative that I had quite a few more of these in my cellar.


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Photo of Crosling
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Autumn colored ale with a full white head. Very nice complex aroma has complexity from the malt as well as the barrel. Notes of vanilla, creme brulee, cookie, coconut as well as some spice nuances and barrel character. Flavor has some complexity from the original beer (caramel., toffee), as well as some light notes of whiskey, peat, toasted wood and vanilla. A fairly nice ale.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Original rating 11/3/2008 - 4.0/3.5/3.5/3.0/3.0 Overall - 3.35

Props to SirSketch for this LIF brew; 12 oz. bottle into a Delirium tulip.

Out of the light, Curmudgeon appears listless, brick red in color, and hazy. In the light, however, it takes on a vibrant, bloody-copper glow, and a trail of small bubbles can be seen rising up from the etched glass bottom. The faint custard head retreats almost as quickly as it forms, and leaves behind only a thin ring of foam around the top. The aroma smells great, I just wish there were more of it: crystallized sugar and cotton candy give way to a nutty, spicy yeast presence, while the hops add a kiss of floral grassiness to the mix.

The flavor starts off with hot alcohol and spices, a bit medicinal at times, but pulls back just before things get too overbearing. Alcohol warmth continues into the finish, delivering a sweet and bitter mix of brandy and cough syrup. Caramel malts and a slight hop edge are somewhere in the middle, but ultimately get overshadowed. Mouthfeel is sticky, syrupy, and hot with booze, while carbonation is almost non-existant. If I were to come across this again, I'd absolutely give it a few years in the cellar before unleashing it on unsuspecting palates. Too much alcohol, not enough restraint.

[EDIT: Tried a bottle on 12/28/2011 that was almost 2 years old. Very tasty, with subdued alcohol and a smooth, caramel maltiness. Dried fruits and a tinge of hops made for a well-rounded old ale. Leagues better than when this beer was fresh.]

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very fine barley-wine. Body was hazy and opaque and straw colored. Aroma was very malty with some fruitiness. Flavor was warming and mellow with some mild cereal-ness I didn't care for, and a lot of body I did like. Mouthfeel was clean and dry.

Had this on tap at Mike Roman's pub in Bay View, WI.

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Photo of jdoncbus
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. The liquid appears hazy, brown with an orange/maroon hue. Thin, biege head that breaks down quickly accompanied with an oily, polka dot lacing.

The aroma produces a boozy, raisin introduction accented with dark fruits, wood, vanilla, and a port meets some cooking sherry. The molasses malt is pungent along with whiffs of caramel and cream.

While drinking this acidic and bold ale, I could swear I felt some extra hair growing on my chest. My mouth welcomed a smooth, filmy liquid that produced flavors such as oak, prunes, raisins, syrupy malt, and a heaping dose of bitterness only see in sherries and wines. My inside was left very dry and puckery, the acidic levels blast and the alcohol is nowhere near hidden.

This thing is a sipper and I think it's screaming to be aged. I will save one for some cold winter night ad stash some down in the's ust a basement. A very unique style and one that I will have to play around with...

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Photo of spointon
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a very slightly cloudy light brown color shot through with orange highlights. The head started at 1/4" and quickly dropped to zero.

S= Definite oak-ish and vanilla aromas dancing around a not-too-overpowering bourbon note and some sweet caramel malts. Faint hop spice entered and receded in a flash followed by big alcohol.

T= Much like the smell, I found sweet caramel maltiness, vanilla beans, oakiness, and maybe a spot of dry leaves and tobacco. That was all followed by bourbon and more dry oak like tannins which contributed bitterness and dryness in the finish.

MF= Medium bodied with a soft, low carbonation mouthfeel. Slightly thin in the finish.

D= Certainly an easy drinking whiskey barrel inspired beer. I appreciate that neither the wood nor the bourbon flavors overpower the rest of it. Just a bit thin for my palate, but still damn drinkable.

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

A - Cloudy dark amber. Good head of light brown foam. Creamy and sticky.

S - Very floral. lots of oranges, apples and alcohol with some toffee. Very pungent.

T - Tons of flavor. Big alcohol complexity, sweet apple cider and bracing finishing bitterness. Creamy orange taffy.

M - Heavy thick feel.

D - Reminds me of candy but with a bit bitter finish. Tasty but really heavy and sweet, almost cloyingly so.

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Deep amber under a small tan head. No lace, no retention.

S: Nice fruity aroma mixed with some wood, vanilla, citrus and piney hop. Incredibly nice aroma.

T: Nice taste, fruit is a little less, wood and vanilla character much more apparent. Very balanced, decent hit of bitterness in the finish with a splash of alcohol.

M/D: Surprisingly not so heavy, full bodied, but carbonation is low, and it feels light (but still on the heavy end of the spectrum). Good drinkability. Delicious beer. Superb.

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Photo of midnite2sixman
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish red with a caramel colored head. Decent finger of foam doesn't leave a ton of lacing behind.

Smells roasty with a whiff off autumn.

Taste, a bigger beer, with a bit of an alcohol taste and roasted flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth, after the first sip, finishes with a caramel taste.

Drinkability is high on this one my friends, although it is a heavy beer it is excellent for sipping on cool autumn nights when the bats are flying overhead.

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Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

time for a new review, new review with a bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, NC, old one performed mid-2006 with a bottle from dirtylou follows

a: head is very light but that's expected here, the beer is a darker orange-brown in color

s: boozy and bourbon-esque caramel malts make up the grain body here, sweet dried dates soaked in booze, oak vanilla despite no barrel aging, vanilla confections, concentrated white fig juice, a touch spicy, hops low, quite nice, huge alcohol presence the only issue

m: low carbonation and full body, has the makings of a good mouthfeel but is a little dull and unimpressive

t: caramel malts with a gentle nutty toffee note towards the finish, boozy with a touch of bourbony oak at the end as a medium bitterness creeps in, moderately sweet, a little restrained for my tastes (put plainly, on the bland side) but well-rounded

d: a little hot but that's not really much of a detractor given the style, pretty easy

appearance: The pour into my snifter gives a low tan head that soon becomes nothing but a very thin ring around the glass. The beer is a deep, reddish brown in color.
smell: grainy caramel malt sweetness at the head...a little woody. A touch of cola and milk chocolate. Dried figs and dates. Light hop aroma.
mouthfeel: The carbonation is low and gentle, and the body full
taste: moderate sweetness, lightly nutty malt character upfront...clean and without a ton of complexity but still tasty. Some milk chocolate after the swallow. Dark fruits, maybe some dates. Not as rich in flavor as I had hoped, but pretty good nonetheless. Light to moderate hop flavor with a medium bitterness and a touch of ethanol.
drinkability: Alcohol light, and a good beer that could use some character
Shipped from dirtylou sometime last spring and cellared since.

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Photo of MSchae1017
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured into a snifter from the twelve ounce bottle.

This beer pours a muddy amber-brown with a small off white head that does not hold or lace. The aroma is of caramel, dark fruits and emerging vanilla and coconut of bourbon as the beer warms. The flavor also smells of caramel up front as the beer warms some fruitiness comes out as well. Finally the bourbon makes its presence known. At first the bourbon was a bit astringent but as the beer warms it becomes more pleasant. However, the besides the bourbon, I do not get a whole lot else. The body is medium-full and low on carbonation. Overall, it is an ok beer. I would like to see a bit more beyond the bourbon.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big ups to, Bobby91w for this extra!!

Look was Dark red, almost black in the shadows. Poured with small head and no lacing.

Smell was sweet malt, Alcohol notes, raisins, carmel, Bourbon, Pineapple and oak wood.

Taste was smooth with a alcohol bite. Nicely hopped to balance the carmel hop notes but not overpowering, also subtle vanilla taste. Mouthfell was tart and creamy.

This was a very unique old ale. I would suggest trying this one it was very nice and warming.

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Photo of kkipple
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I dumped this into my snifter and was... uh, rewarded with a languid, billowy and sticky tan head that rose majestically atop this thick lookin' brew. Curmudgeon is a dirty rust-amber color with a ton of sediment suspended in the mix. Looks like something illiterate Cape Cod fishermen would drink out of lead cups to stave off pneumonia. I dunno. It's ugly, but somehow commands respect.

Not quite sure where to start on the nose here... let it warm, first off. A lot of subtle malt nuance going on here... sweet and smooth caramel notes, a hint of nut, and a VERY reserved juniper-pine hop note that reminds me of good Dutch gin. There's something woody and vanilla here, but it again is distant and quiet. The alcohol warmth is detectable but reserved for a 9% brew. A touch of lime citrus and oxidized booze (sherry) blend into the mix, and the result is a super smooth, old-tasting... old ale. Huh. I am really enjoying smelling this!

The flavor is likewise reserved and ultra-smooth. Big toasted grain-sugar malt notes are blended with smooth sherry, vanilla, grape tannins and spruce into a deliciously smooth and whiskey-like brew. Yes, I know there is no bourbon here, but it brings to mind some of the best small batch spirits I've had. This is what your crotchety, war-vet uncle wouldn't let you have as a kid. It is an adult beverage in every sense of the word. Old and rewarding, but it takes time.

The mouthfeel is superlative. Smooth, sticky and very lightly carbonated; this beer practically glides down your throat. Once more, this tastes like it has 5 years on it. The finish is brown-sugar sweet with sherry and just enough pine hop bitter to balance. Lingering, pleasing and smooth.

Curmudgeon is a beer to sip and savor. A wonderful nightcap, Founders has taken the old ale to dizzying heights. This is one of the best I've had. On those cold winter nights in front of a fire when you reflect on your life's failures, Curmudgeon will be right there with you, glaring and mumbling and somehow making everything seem a little bit better. Highly recommended.

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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.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a red / caramel / amber color. A sweet malty smell. Can detect the alcohol in the smell. Crisp clean taste.. fairly balanced but actually on the bitter side. Fairly bitter finish but not overwhelming. For its strength, this is very drinkable and smooth.

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Photo of atsprings
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crisp deep amber almost brown with no head, just a ring. The aroma is loads of malts with slight underlying hops. The taste is wonderfully complex, burnt caramel, dried fruits, and molasses all blend nicely. The beer is slightly heavy but the alcohol is not overbearing. This is a very enjoyable beer, especially as it warms.

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Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark amber color with slight ruby accents and a small tan head on it that quickly dissipated into nothing and left no lacing. The smell is dominant of dark fruits (plums and raisins) and caramel malt. I consider this a "malty" nose, and I like it on this cool fall evening. The flavor profile hits heavy with all of the caramel malt in the nose coming full force on the palate with other flavors or dark fruit, banana, and a spot of sweet molasses, but the alcohol in this offering also comes through in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation and a good shot of warming alcohol is present. The drinkability is very good on this beer, and I could have easily drank another one.

Another great beer from Founders.

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Photo of BierFan
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass. The bottle says 9.8%abv not 9.3.

Appearance: Hazy rusty brown. Good carbonation but no head. Definitely looks like a substantial brew.

Smell: Malty alcohol smell that one would expect. Some dark fruitiness to it.

Taste: Pleasantly malty with a sweet and spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy and full mouthfeel.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a clear rich auburn color with a thinner but well sustained white head.Alcohol dipped fruit and vanilla stand out most in the nose with a hint of brown sugar,its warming at malt driven.Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a little thinner than expected,flavors are sweet up front with some cherry-like fruitiness and vanilla and the alcohol gives a little burn,there is a racey drying hop finish with is nice and balanced.A sipping brew, a nice warmer on a day like yesterday.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew in a trade with jcjwebster, Thanks Jeff!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - hazed orange/rust color with a beige head that remained as a ring and left some waves of lacing.

S - aroma is some alcohol and something sweet, sort of like raisins.

T - bourbon flavor upfront, then a sweet malty taste kicks in, even more so as it warms.

F - full bodied, thick and chewy.

O - a pleasant sipper.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,196 ratings.