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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

1,197 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,197
Hads: 4,250
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 185
Gots: 962 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,197 | Hads: 4,250
Photo of Knilas
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very nice pour! Great flavor, although I thought it could be a lil more balanced. Looks awesome in the glass, and held up well to the cigar I was smoking that evening. That?s a plus for me!

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Photo of Hardsell
4.78/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Great, great beer. Received it on draft in a snifter. The presentation was excellent, with a perfect head ratio by the time it reached the table. The taste gave a very heady, feverish impression. It is supposed to have a high malt presence, and with further analysis I can definitely taste this, but on first impression, the strong malts combine with the high alcohol level, the hops, and the added flavors to create a candied almond-like impression. To some, it might evoke memories cherry tussin, but it's so much more nuanced and interesting than that. It's definitely not fruity, but I might call it floral. The smell is also very evocative of almond, and much less evocative of cherry. This beer definitely strikes me as one that intentionally emphasizes its alcohol content, and as hard as its feverishness is to handle initially, as soon as the palate contextualizes it, it is a near-perfect experience.

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Photo of ljbonadonna92
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Cloudy copper color with no head. Strong oak character in both nose and taste. Subtle roast notes on the finish along with slight hop character. Alcohol heat definitely present. When it warms up i get hints of honey.

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Photo of ZBowden
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear deep honey brown small tan head, smells of molasses coffee and caramel, tastes of hops and slight coffee caramel malts bittered by oak and the high alcohol content, rich silky mouthfeel very light carbonation,

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Photo of LaneMeyer
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a blue glass. Hard to see the color clearly. Medium brown color, very little head.

Smells of raisins, moss, cinnamon, nutmeg, bit of rubbing alcohol, cherry, bourbon, hints of dark cherry chocolate.

Tastes a bit woody, tree bark, sticky raisin bread, rubbing alcohol is a bit too prominent and unbalancing, the bourbon notes are quite nice, subtle dark fruits towards the end,

Mouth feel is too watery and thin to be very enjoyable.

Overall a decent beer. Certainly not outstanding in my opinion. Don't love it, don't hate it. Probably wouldn't buy again but wouldn't refuse if offered.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.48/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Curmudgeon, are you as amazed as I am that I haven’t reviewed you yet you misanthropic old geezer? ... didn’t think so. Well anyway here we are. I decided long ago I would make my way through the hundred odd beers that Founders brews and this is number 5 for me. Never has knowing you’ve got a mountain to climb looked so fantastic from the bottom, and with that thought - Founders Curmudgeon, an Old Ale, brewed with molasses and oak aged? Brilliant move Founders, brilliant move, time to see if that move pays off (he said knowing it will).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy russet body with a caramel-tinged half centimetre head that dissipates to a light lacing. The fact that it even has a head at all at 9.8% ABV is surprising enough (in a good way). 9/10.

S: MO-LASS-ES! And plenty of it on the nose, don’t think I’ve ever whiffed so much molasses in a brew before. Aroma-wise there’s not much more to say - this could be another FBS where they give you a single aroma and pack in a massive face-punch of flavour - I hope that’s what Founders is doing right now with this curmudgeon. 8/10.

T: And that is precisely what Founders have done. This is one creamy gooey molasses and caramel extravaganza, with characters of: Molasses, caramel, butterscotch, brandy with a dry/earthy hop and woody finish (it’s in the oak, yo). There is a decent amount of booze knocking about giving off a fusel (hot) alcohol note that the sugar, try as it might, it cannot hide. However it is still a tasty Old Ale with more complexity as it “opens” up. 9/10.

M: Heavy bodied, quite viscous, like some sort of molasses-flavoured beer molasses, with a light but very dense carbonation. This is a beer that wants to coat your tongue in its sticky-gooey majesty. Bring it on I say. 9/10.

D: What Founders have done with this, and FBS and Centennial IPA and FIS, et al. is craft a distinctly heavy-rich brash-bold in-your-face experience with every style they seemingly encounter. Not yet have I had a Founders beer and gone “that’s a bit average/bland” they seem to know where the envelope is, how to push it, and extract the maximum from every beer, and I man-love* the bastards for their no-compromise outlook on brewing, cheers Founders! 10/10.

Food match: Roast pork, roast vegetables, ROAST EVERYTHING!

*Which consists solely of a well-timed fist bump.

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Photo of Junkforadam
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Carmel color, poured with no head. Smells like molasses and mild alcohol. Finishes with mild malt and medium alcohol flavor. Maybe a bit too carbonated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Was given a bottle of this by a friend recently, having never had this before. This seemed like the typical Old Ale but because it was so strong, could have been easily confused with being a a Barleywine. Not a fast sipper, there was a lot of complexity to this under the surface and it was so well-crafted that I had to take my time going through this, not even taking into account how potent it was!

Nice pour to this as the beer had a dark copper hue to it, a good amount of clarity, and a moderate tan head that quickly settled. No lacing seen on the side of the glass as this beer had a relatively thin consistency to it. Lots of booze and molasses in the nose, which were even more pronounced when I gave this a sip. Lots of current and cherry under that, which complemented the smoky oak beautifully. Warming and somewhat thin, this went down smooth but not easily as the burn from the alcohol and the wood took a bit of getting used to. Hard to pick out the hops here but there was an ever slight hint of bitterness in the back, which had a blood orange tinge to it. The carbonation was good even if the bubbles themselves weren't visible.

Yes, this was strong and it felt every bit of it from the opening of the bottle to the last drop. The complexity of this is what made it stand out and it was on par with the other beer that I've had from Founders. Just chewy enough without being cloying, the body was full enough to counterbalance the wonderful range of complex flavors without detracting from them. Take a good half hour and more to enjoy this - it's worth it and one of the best examples of this style that's widely available.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ruby amber color as poured into a stout glass. Off-white head appears low and creamy. Smells of sweet aged wood.
Tastes of creamy vanilla oak-aged beer, slightly boozy but balanced and , most importantly, quite tasty.
This succeeds in being sweet but not cloying, and ending with flavorful citrus hops as well as an oaky bite you'd expect from a beer aged as such. There's vanilla, and the molasses plays a lighter, nice role in the flavor to me.
Feels medium-full, smooth, slightly sticky.
I enjoy this old ale. I'm sure age can only work wonders for it.

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Photo of JavelinWZ
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The effect for me was the malt flavors of a doppelbock (tile Celebrator) with a dash of extra sweetness like a very subtle Crown and Coke. It improved as it sat, I thought, the booziness more pronounced as it warmed. Served in an English pub glass.

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Photo of EMV
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Yard House in Orlando, poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a deep opaque mahogany color. Two fingers of off-white head left some attractive lacing.

S: Malts and candy, cloves and molassas... like all the great spices that go into gingerbread cookies. Dark fruits as well.

T/F: Malty and boozy with lots of sweets and spicy flavors. Molassas and brown sugar nicely complement hints of cinnamon and cloves. Nice alcoholic warmth and a clean finish. Light on the carbonation and a bit thick and chewy.

O: This crotchety old bastard from Founders drinks like a meal... or a dessert. This is a great old Ale, and one I will definitely be re-visiting. Founders rarely disappoints.

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Photo of pja786
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of the bottle, I get fig/ cherry notes. Taste has a very bold and study maltiness. Hard to discern the hops, but they're present. Overall, this is a good beer and would suggest trying, but will unlikely buy again.

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Photo of hardysf
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Very good mouthfeel. Wonderful color that is clear. Smell of wood and molasses. Some hop spiciness shines through at the end. Too much oak flavor for me. Might be better with some age.

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It seems this thing needs to mellow while sitting for a while. As served, it was a murky light brown with quickly dissipating off-white foam. Smells of cooked sugar, booze, and wood. Flavors are too varied. Some sweet molasses with alcohol and oak. Slightly rough finish/linger of woodiness. The first disappointment I've had from Founders. Perhaps expectations are high here.

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Photo of stompilator
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip.

A - Poured a deep, opaque red, thin, crispy head.

S - Oak, booze, a little bit of esters, and a wee bit of hops.

T - The oak flavor is definitely dominant, especially up front. Some plummy, berry-esque esters follow along with the thick sweetness from the molasses. Buttery, bready notes come from the malt near the end, with some earthy hops and residual boozinessrounding out the finish.

M - Medium-bodied, easy carbonation.

O - Tons of layers to this particular brew, very sweet in so many ways.

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

fruity and syrupy, this reminds me of a thicker creamier barleywine ale, just not as bitter and in your face. sweet molasses, oak, raisin. FULL body, creamy/slick mouthfeel.
saving one to try in a year. see if it changes the barrage of complex flavors. it just needs to mellow out a bit. still a must try if you like founders.

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Photo of WestMichiganWhaler
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Overpowering molasses that lingers. Although complex, the smokey, spicy, oakey, boozy components are all dwarfed by the molasses. A very good beer but not my favorite from Founders.

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Photo of jonnyybp
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not really my style but great beer nonetheless. Sweet, with the molasses, which hides some of the booze. Would like to try it again with some age on it

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Photo of Nctide
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep bronze color with an off white head. It has a sweetness reminiscent of cherries soaking in scotch whiskey. The taste has a surprising spicy component with a slight alcohol tinge on the finish. Overall this is a decent balanced ale.

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Photo of do_ob
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Pours a somewhat hazy amber with about 1/2 a finger of off-white lacing. Smell isn't exactly overpowering, but I get notes of ginger, molasses, figs, raisins, and apples. Smells like a sweet, boozy syrup. Heavy weight, very dense and creamy on the mouthfeel. The taste is pretty much on par with the smell, only intensified. Sweet molasses, sugar, figs, and dark fruit. I'm tasting some alcohol near the middle. Finishes very smooth with a slight alcohol burn. Leaves the palate sweet and sticky, kind of like a cough medicine. A smokey, syrupy sweetness dominates the aftertaste.

Overall, very nice. I've wanted to try this one for a while and I'm glad I was able to find it. It's a bit dense and overpowering in terms of sweetness, but it's still plenty enjoyable, to me at least. It seemed to mellow out slightly after it warmed up a little. My bottle was pretty fresh, though, so I'd like to age a couple more of these and see how they are 6-12 months in.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark orange ruby color with almost no head.

Smells like wood, raisins, dark fruits, and some booze.

If this is chilled, the flavors are muted to raisins and malt. As it warms, figs, oak, maple, dates, graham cracker, caramel, candy, and more. The complexity takes on a life of its own.

The beer goes down really smooth with just slight booze on the back end. It's thick and creamy.

Overall this beer is wonderful: I love the sweetness it brings on. I'm going to age one and check in in a year!

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Photo of maedhros09
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Look: Dark ruby amber with big fluffy off-white head that takes some times to settle.
Smell: Definitely needs to warm up to pick up on the subtle aromas here. Caramel malt, molassas and a smidge of fruity alcohol...
Taste: I'm finding it hard to describe the taste. Partly its because it is so seamless - you can't tell where one fllavor ends and the next begins - but also it's kind of muted. Its this smooth sweetness that comes and goes, with a gentle afterglow of herbal hops. I imagine part of this is the barrel-aging. The alcohol is somewhere in there, obviously, but it isn't too obvious below cellar temps.
Feel: Medium body, very smooth slightly syrupy mouthfeel with subdued carbonation thanks to the high alcohol.

Overall: The Curmudgeon is mysterious in the way it keeps me coming back and trying to understand it. It is big, yet mellow. Strong, yet subtle and thin in a way. It definitely goes against Founders' reputation as makers of brash beers. All in all, though, it's hard to feel like I'm not missing something. I finish it feeling vaguely unsatisfied. Maybe it's the style. For malty goodness I have to admit I would rather crack open a Dirty Bastard.

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Photo of Ri0
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 12oz bottle into chalice. Bottled 4/1/14

A - Dirty caramel brown with amber flecks. Minimal half finger head and no lacing.

S - Thick malty scents of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, butter scotch and bread. Reminds me of a scotch ale.

T - This is mighty tasty with chewy sweet malts of caramel and brown sugar. Very sweet bread and butter scotch give it some depth. The taste has a familiarity of scotch ale, yet it includes notes of dark fruit.

M - Medium bodied with a thicker mouthfeel. Very rich and smooth with lower carbonation.

O - This is a very nice ale. If you like scotch ales or dopplebocks, you will certainly enjoy this one.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another excellent beer from Founders. Just a slight notch below CBS, KBS and Breakfast Stout but still a superb beer. Wonderful flavor and very drink able.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,197 ratings.