1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,794 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 3,794
Reviews: 1,120
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 150
Gots: 737 | FT: 46
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

50 IBU
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 3,794 | Reviews: 1,120 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
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
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
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
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
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
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
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
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep orange, slight haze, but clear enough to see some tiny bubbles rising. No true head, faint ring of white bubbles around the rim.

Really trying here. Got my nose in the pint, getting a faint sweet fruit smell, some alcohol, maybe some caramel. Got more aroma as this warmed a bit, but still damn faint. In a bar room with food /stale cigarette abound, you'd get nothing from this pint. My rating is very very generous here.

Nice toasty malt and some burnt sugar, and a little stone fruit, but this is immediately kicked aside by a strong chemical alcohol taste. As the booze fades, some full hop bitterness, then chemical bitterness. This is not beer for the tame. A true grown-up drink here.

Full bodied, with some carbonation - and it is needed to clear for the next sip. And that is how this drinks -- a pure sipper. This is not summer beer, but winter in the easy chair or fireside in the fall. This one is a bit hot (alcohol), almost to a fault. If the booze was toned down, I could see having more than one at a time. Since it isn't, I'm one and done. Decent beer, but to be had as a change of pace or a seasonal treat.

Photo of buschbeer
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I poured into my glass to a small light tan head. It is a ruddy amber color. I get a nice toasted caramel scent along with some alcohol. It also has a bready smell in there, too. The taste is pretty much the same with the tasted caramel malt, but it does lack the alcohol in the taste that I got on the nose. The mouthfeel is exactly what I like, nice and viscous. Overall, it is a pretty solid beer.

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

On tap at the Brass Rail today during lunch. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass it appears a clear amber color with some lighter orange colors around the edges and a thin lacing of yellowish tanned head. Spotty amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is of sweet malty grains with a touch of orange character. Taste has a welcoming warmth of alcohol that is also solvent in flavor upfront with a sweet malty caramel backing and light citrus hop bitterness that mingles with a flavor of bitter orange rind. The hop bitterness lingers in the mouth with a bit of a resine-like piney flavor. Medium to heavy body with a light amount of carbonation. Other flavors of grain linger in the mouth. As it warms, more residual sugars come out in the taste much like dark sugar akin to caramel that has somewhat of a smokey quality about it. Overall pretty decent but doesn't have the wowing factor that I have come to expect from most Founder's offerings.

Photo of crossovert
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Bottled 2/10/10.

Pours into my snifter a beautiful clear reddish orange with a creamy ivory head that lasts for a good amount of time before slowly receding and leaving some nice lacing.

The smell is luscoius. There is tons of caramel and butterscotch. It is also earthy with a touch of hops. There is also a stark dark fruit scent. It is a very luxurious looking and smelling beer.

The taste isn't as good as the other two but it is very good. It is alot more bitter than expected with a nice hop bite. The malt is here too and it is almost cloyingly sweet. There is an abundance of caramel on the palate.

The mouthfeel is thick but has a nice, smooth carbonation, it is slightly cloying but not overly form the sugar and alcohol.

The alcohol in this one isn't perfectly hidden but it works well and makes this one feel like a strong barleywine going down.

Overall it is one beautiful looking and beautifully scented brew, the taste is good but not spectacular.

Photo of beertunes
4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear reddish copper. Relatively low carbonation meant there was less than a thin cap of head yet somehow left a bit of pretty lacing.

The aroma is very malt based, sweet with a honeyish background and just a bit of hops present. There was some alcohol hotness at first, but it faded quickly. The flavors were very similar, thick sticky malt, some honey (and maybe maple) flavors, a touch of hops and a nice alcohol taste that fades quickly and leaves a warm glow.

The body is pleasantly full, just short of heavy, and tongue coating. Drinkability is excellent, as long as you're not in a hurry.

Overall, a great brew that compares favorably to the only beer I've given all 5's to, North Coast Old Stock, and is certainly worth your time.

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn, NY. Served in a 12oz. tulip glass.

A: Cool amber color, light for an old ale. Thin layer of a bubbly head, sticky.

S: Boozy, caramel malts, and grains.

T: Nice smooth mellow toffee notes, bitter, slightly boozy. This beer really opens up as it warms up.

M: Good carbonation, tingly and zippy on the way down (this is probably due to it being from the tap).

D: Easy to take this serving down rather quickly.

Overall, a really nice and readily available (now that Founders is in NY!) beverage.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a bubbly semi-transparent dark honey golden - the way it was poured I wasn't able to comment on the head. Malty aroma has a honey-sweet overtone. Malty, lively flavor has hints of spice, a nice alcohol bite and a hoppy undertone. Edgy, fizzy texture has a fierce, brandy-like bite.

Photo of baos
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Jar.

A: Thick body with a thin head. Not too much lacing going on.

S: I smell the whiskey barrel.

T: Barrel booziness with dark fruit preserve goodiness.

M: Now this beer has body. Not quite 30-w but a lot more than diesel fuel.

D: Pretty strong brew but good enough to have a few.

Photo of ksimons
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours an amber color with almost no head. Visible carbonation bubbles

S-sweet and malty. Smells of vanilla and something sort of earthy, maybe the oak

T-very similar to the smell, sweet and full of malt. As Founder's says an insane focus on the malt, which is very true! Towards the middle/end you taste a very light bitter hops which helps even it out very nicely.

M-medium to full body, minimal carbonation, very smooth, thick, and dry

D-very good Old Ale, I would get it again. Not sure I could have more than one at a time, but it is great for what it is

Photo of DovaliHops
4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew poured a cloudy orangish red with a beautiful head to it. The smell is amazing. Sweet malts with vanilla and a slight fruitiness. I also get a hint of whiskey. I'm not sure how this beer is made, but I could swear that it's aged in whiskey barrels, because I get such a strong whiskey taste after sipping it. It's delicious. Sweet cherries, vanilla, and whiskey in this wonderfully complex ale. Love it!

Photo of Avagadro
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Curmudgeon sports a red body that is fairly clear save for the sediment that floats in it. Head is creamy in color, and doesn't rely stick around long.

S: malty to the core, the bouquet offers caramel, vanilla, and a touch of rum.

T: flavor follows the bouquet's lead, with heavy vanilla notes followed by caramel and molasses.

M: full bodied and creamy. Carbonation is barely noticeable.

D: a great sipper if there ever was one. This brew shows the oak well, with heavy vanilla notes. This is one of my favorite Old Ales/Barleywines out there.

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours an opaque dark copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sticky caramel malts with a good amount of indistinct spiciness and lighter amounts of earthy hops.

Tastes fairly similar to how it smells. Sweet and slightly grainy caramel malt flavors kick things off. Midway through the sip they sweeten a bit and are joined by earthy, leafy, and lightly spicy hops. The hops carry through to a solidly bitter ending. The sip also warms a bit as it heads down the gullet.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Overall this was a very well done old ale and does a great job of hiding the alcohol. Worth a shot.

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

dig the color, rich amber with an off white head that dissipated in a few minutes to film across the top of the beer. Couple of whiffs I pick up hints of caramel, vanilla and some gingery spice.

There is an initial bite of hops that comes back on the exhale but soothed midway by sweet caramel, molasses flavors. I'm getting through this faster than expected, the complexity makes each sip entertaining to dissect. The alcohol is disguised dangerously well. Smooth textures, carbonation struggles to get through the viscosity. As an old ale I find it over all very interesting, I wouldn't drink this with a meal its pretty filling and it's got a lot of flavors going on already.

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,794 ratings.