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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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3,490 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,490
Reviews: 1,099
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 137
Gots: 631 | FT: 45
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: 3,490 | Reviews: 1,099 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wagenvolks


3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

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.]

11-03-2008 23:33:54 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of BeerBelcher


4/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

11-01-2008 20:00:53 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of jdoncbus


3.88/5  rDev -3.2%

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 cellar...Ok...it's ust a basement. A very unique style and one that I will have to play around with...

11-01-2008 01:41:30 | More by jdoncbus
Photo of spointon


3.93/5  rDev -2%

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.

10-31-2008 04:50:54 | More by spointon
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

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.

10-30-2008 17:21:05 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of NCSUdo


4.43/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

10-29-2008 22:43:32 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of midnite2sixman


3.7/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

10-29-2008 06:38:18 | More by midnite2sixman
Photo of blackie


3.78/5  rDev -5.7%

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.

10-29-2008 02:52:44 | More by blackie
Photo of MSchae1017


3.53/5  rDev -12%

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.

10-29-2008 02:29:38 | More by MSchae1017
Photo of cannabanaceae


3.83/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

10-29-2008 01:23:59 | More by cannabanaceae
Photo of kkipple

South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +8%

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.

10-28-2008 01:39:50 | More by kkipple
Photo of notafood


4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

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.

10-26-2008 21:33:59 | More by notafood
Photo of webmanspidey


4.22/5  rDev +5.2%

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.

10-25-2008 01:16:43 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +13.5%

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.

10-23-2008 22:50:23 | More by atsprings
Photo of TheodorHerzl


3.83/5  rDev -4.5%

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.

10-22-2008 01:43:11 | More by TheodorHerzl
Photo of BierFan


3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

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.

10-22-2008 00:08:36 | More by BierFan
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -3.2%

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.

10-19-2008 13:19:35 | More by oberon
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4/5  rDev -0.2%

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.

10-19-2008 01:43:22 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of roadhouse


3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Appears a brownish red color with a quarter to half inch off-white head that sinks to a thin skim rather quickly.

Aroma sweet and malty. Lots of caramel and toffee with some raisin and fig character. Perhaps a bit of cherry and a light alcohol.

Taste is initially sweet, but not so much as the aroma would suggest, with the dark fruit character sticking out then it becomes a bit more earthy with a slight bitterness and spiciness that linger on into the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-full and very soft on the palate. It would be a bit higher but it kind of leaves a weird slick feeling on the palate after the swallow.

Quite an interesting brew and a bit better than the Bell's Third Coast Old Ale that I tried. I would like to get another bottle of this to age alongside my Third Coast and give both another try in a couple months or so.

10-17-2008 19:45:12 | More by roadhouse
Photo of kasper

New York

3.95/5  rDev -1.5%

A: Pours a semi translucent copper with auburn highlights. Minimal banana cream colored head that leaves tads of lacing when swirled. Looks like a barleywine or strong Dogfish head ale like the Fort.

S: Smell is sweet, fruity, all malt and alcohol. Smells just like a barely wine. Maybe some raspberry, raison, a little sweet cherry possible, who knows. It's just really sweet on the nose. As it warms, banana definitely comes through

T: Was expecting a big burst of sweetness here but it's surprisingly well balanced. Really malty and bready. Some banana flavor. Maybe some oak. A little spicy at the end. But that big hit of alcohol and sweetness I was expecting from the appearance and smell never hits, and that's a good thing. Never tasted something like this before. It's enjoyable.

M: Thick, slightly velvety but overall a very smooth and palette coating feel. Tiny bit of sharpness on the finish. Not sure if that is alcohol or spice working. Overall this is one of the strongpoints of the beer next to the taste.

D: This beer is not sweet in a cloying way, which I expected it to be from the poor. It's very well balanced somehow. I'm not sure I'd drink more than one of these in a sitting but can breeze through the first one quite easily. A good beer.

10-17-2008 03:03:32 | More by kasper
Photo of brdc


4.28/5  rDev +6.7%

Thanks hoppymeal for this one; small capped bottle, poured into a snifter.

Fairly dark amber, with glowing, reddish highlights, very little light tan head, some surface coating on its way down.
Aroma is boozy, caramels soaked in port wine, dark fruits. Not very strong.
Full bodied, vinous, feels like a port wine and frequently tastes like one. It also nice waves of bitterness and sweetness, with a propensity towards sweet; caramel, toffee, raisins, lots of warming alcohol, spiciness likely coming from this alcohol that if it not well hidden, it is pleasant.

A very good old ale, not my favorite, but quite close.

10-17-2008 02:04:36 | More by brdc
Photo of rye726


4.18/5  rDev +4.2%

Rich redwood color with a silky tan head. Not the best retention, but still a fine looking ale. The nose has a collection of oaky malts, smoke, cocao and ripe fruits. Taste is well balanced between big roasty malts, sweet residual sugars and subtle floral hops. Full body is well carbonated. A very good version of the style that I could drink quite often.

10-16-2008 00:59:21 | More by rye726
Photo of bluemoonswoon


4.35/5  rDev +8.5%

12oz stubby brown bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A: Would have poured a clear dark copper, but with the extra yeast poured into the class it takes on a nice hazy copper, like a really really high ABV hefeweizen. The beer is topped with a one and a half inch frothy white head but bubbles down to a tight, thin cap with nice creamy lacing that does not last as long as I initially hoped it would have. Just the slightest bit bland looking.

S: Strong and sweet, heavy cream, vanilla, all brought together by strong, oaky, notes. Mild bouron, but is really more on account of the vanilla in the beer than anything else.

T/MF: Very smooth, like silk in the mouth but with a subtle carbonation that gives this beer a nice, almost chewy character. Big, oaky, opening. Sweet dark fruits, cherry is the most dominate here, but even this flavor is rather subtle, as though it is wrapped in a blanket of vanilla ice cream. Understated hop bitterness and once again demonstrates Founders' dedication to creating a uniquely balanced beer.

D: Incredibly smooth and balanced, not too sweet, just the right amount of bitterness, makes for an incredibly drinkable beer. If it just looked a bit prettier this beer would score a 5 in this category, but appearance still counts for me when it comes to drinkability. Still a fantastically drinkable beer.

10-15-2008 03:04:37 | More by bluemoonswoon
Photo of abfraser


4.43/5  rDev +10.5%

A: Pours a deep opaque mahogany with a nice sized white head.

S: Caramel malt, candi sugar, dark fruits (cherry) and coconut

T/M: Damn is this good. Alcohol and sugar soaked cherries. Big malt profile. Lingering spice and maybe some toffee. Full-bodied, creamy mouthfeel. This is awesome stuff

D: I could drink this all night even though it would leave me horrendously hung over. It just might be worth it.

An awesome beer. I actually prefer this over the Breakfast Stout, which while a great brew, is a little overrated in my book. For those that like old-style ales, this one is worth seeking out.

10-15-2008 03:03:18 | More by abfraser
Photo of tburkhart


3.83/5  rDev -4.5%

Let me start this review by saying the Old Ale style is not something I am overly familiar with, but I figured I give this one a shot coming from Founders.

The appearance is a hazy dark orange with little to no head. What little head is there clings to the side of the glass leaving no lacing what-so-ever.

Smells of slightly roasted raisins and quite possibly some toffee and other dark fruits. Carmel malts come at you front and center.

Many carmel malts come through on the back of the palate. Almost a acidic bitterness. Very "bitey". Notes of the alcohol come through as well.

This is definitely not a session beer. A few of these in a night could put you right to sleep. All and all, not a huge fan of this style, but will try some others to be certain.

10-14-2008 23:58:42 | More by tburkhart
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,490 ratings.