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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

1,204 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,204
Hads: 4,292
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 980 | FT: 54
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: 1,204 | Hads: 4,292
Photo of stoutman
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This brew has a hazy dark red pour, there are hues of burnt orange, ruby and brown in this brew, pour gave a thin covering of tiny bubbles. Looks viscous and syrupy in the glass, interesting, lots of malt flavor, has a big malt sweetness, brown sugar, chocolate, light berries and candy, some mild hops but not a big bite. Alcohol warmth felt at the first sip. Another worthy effort from Founders.

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Photo of waltonc
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle with Joey Schlitz. This beer is carefully calibrated to cause me to love it. I had this after drinking a bottle of Angel's Share, and the flavors were somewhat similar, though mouthfeel and appearance are significantly different. Curmudgeon allows light to pass through it, and has significantly less carbonation.

Taste: Curmudgeon gathers all of the best elements of a good barleywine, without the unpleasant heat and unnecessary hopping of some (which I acknowledge is a very controversial viewpoint that many will not agree with, especially on the west coast). Sweet, thick, carmel, malts, toffee, fruits. This is a dessert beer. I want more.

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Photo of tempest
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single from the Main Party Store in Ann Arbor for $4 and change.

I used to think I wasn't a big old ale fan, but this throws that idea out. This was both drinkable and delicious at over 9% alcohol. This beer reminded me of a lot of the wonderful flavors in a barrel-aged beer (minus the wood) for the smooth mixture of vanilla, spiced rum, and fruity malts. I'd say this one is near the top of the style. A must-try for old ale-lovers.

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

Pours a three finger very light tan head that fades slowly, leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Roasted malt nose. Flavor is sweet roasted molasses. $3.90 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 12 oz bottle that I received in a trade a long while ago, but never got around to actually trying. Served at cellar temperature in an over sized wine glass. Consumed on 07/22/2008.

Poured this one out in to the glass and it looked like a Barley Wine at first. Very hazy with a touch of sediment in the bottom. Dark amber color with some orange highlight and a minimal head. Nice side glass lacing through and a good bit of carbonation could be seen streaking up from the bottom.

The aroma was charged with alcohol. Really quite hot this surprised me. Brandy aroma was dominant. As it warmed through it did get a touch better and ended up with a nice malty aroma. Nice sweet smells of caramel and grain, some cereal like tones as well. A touch of spice in the flavor was evident right away, but the flavor was a touch hot as well until it warmed. Nice oak flavor running through here, with touches of cereal like grains and a nice all around profile. Bready in the middle with a drier, slightly hoped finish, but most of it was drown out but the rum like tasty and peppery flavor that ended it. The feel was very nice, with a good carbonation profile that just would not quite, and a medium body. A solid sipper, this one took me a bit to be able to finish as there was no way that this was going down all in one shot.

Overall a very solid beer, and a good example of the style, though I doubt this is anything that I would really seek out, as there are some much nice examples out there. Still though if it were sitting on the shelf near me I would definitely pick this one up.

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Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mild head that recedes a little too quickly to a single bubble layer. Very cloudy with lots of yeast chunks in the base of the glass. Milky but thin lace on the glass side. Lots of stickiness.

Toasty and malty in the nose. Lots of biscuit with a touch of chocolate. Very low hop bitterness.

Think thick and oily (from alcohol) brown ale. Nice hop finish, but the rest is all malt--rich and chocolatey. This is a beer that sticks to your ribs. There are sherry overtones and the biscuit flavor shows up in a subtle way.

This is a complex beer for the style, but rather than the hop/malt balance, this is more of a mystery tour of malt flavors.

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Photo of Gavage
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: cloudy orange color with a short one finger head that falls apart immediately.

Smell: fruity sweetness, caramel, and some alchohol.

Taste: malt and fruit sweetness abounds, along with some honey, caramel, and alcohol. Bitterness tries to bring it back in check but falls a bit short.

Mouthfeel: medioum bodied. Smooth from start to finish. Long alcohol fueled aftertaste.

Drinkability: a decent beer but alcohol is a bit too up front here. Worth a try.

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A damn ambrosial old ale...

This gem pours from a dust-covered bottle plucked from the depths of this reviewer's cellar. The twist-off cap pops off with a low hiss under the weight of a BA-branded opener.

Cloudy, make that chunky, brackish brown liquid fills the glass. Gold-yellow swirls edge the deeper brown of the depths. A scummy tannish head proves tough enough to remain present to the end.

Somewhat surprisingly, given the abused-toilet-bowl-look of this beer in a glass, is the distinctive and entirely enticing smell. A lively bouquet of dried fruits, dates and figs is followed closely by a strong spicy alcohol nose and loads and loads of caramel and brown sugar. The intricate aroma also showcases leather and honey, cinnamon and toasted nuts.

Fortunately for those finding themselves quaffing this treat - the flavor delivers on the promises of the nose. Served at cellar temperature, as this bottle was, the flavors come off as caramel-covered raisin and honey-roasted nuts with strong undertones of soft- dried apples and plums.

The beer hits the tongue with a cooling wetness and spreads through the mouth warming with its spicy alcohol as it passes. This rather unique mouthfeel is complex without being sweet, heavy or cloying. There is a subtle bitterness in the finish.

I expected this to be good, yet it was much better than I had hoped. It really shines as a stellar old ale/ English-style barleywine. Don't miss this one.

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Photo of MrMonkey
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to AdamB84 for getting me this one.

Enjoyed in a large snifter. Pours a cloudy dark brown with a one-finger creamy tan head that disappears quickly to a bubbly ring. Spotty lacing.

Smell is very port-like: sweet and fruity with a strong dose of alcohol. There's a lot of dark red wine fruits with an earthy maltiness, some oak, caramel and toffee notes, and some spice. Maybe some licorice?

Taste is sweet earthy malts with oak undertones up front, followed by sweet dark fruits, caramel and toffee flavors and some warming alcohol. Alcohol becomes even more apparent as it warms, and gets real hot towards the end of the glass.

Full-bodied, viscous mouthfeel.

Drinkability was hurt a bit due to the fact that the alcohol gets a little harsh towards the end, but it was still an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of albern
2.94/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer has its virtues, but it is not an enjoyable experience. The appearance is a nice cloudy amber brown with lots of yeasty bits floating about. The head is off white, retains a bit, not much lacing. The aroma is profoundly whisky alcohol, dark and heavy fruits, such as fig, rind, apricot, raisin. This is a full bodied beer, quite syrupy in consistency, and just plain thick and overly sweet. There is also an oaky aged quality to the beer. The taste mimics the aroma. You'll get the full gamut of heavy fruit flavors, a cloying candied sugar sweetness, and a syrupy thickness that is just over the top, and that oaky aged quality that is more apt in a bourbon. The killer for me is the alcohol throaty burn. I feel like I'm drinking a sweet whisky drink and it just burns on the way down. This is the type of beer that leaves me with a heartburn afterwards. It's just not drinkable as a beer. For a 9.3% ABV, this tastes like it is thrice that much. Way too much alcohol, and not my cup of tea at all. It's too bad, because the beer does have its virtues, just not as it is presently consistituted. The aftertaste is just doing me in. If I wanted a sweet whisky concoction, I would have mixed one myself.

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Photo of sholland119
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Stone Levitation glass.

A-Pours an opaque deep amber with a little bit of a white head that quickly dissipates.

S-Very malty with a hint of alcohol and caramel.

T-Generally follows the nose, nicely sweet with a little bit of extra toffee flavor in the finish. The alcohol is very well hidden with just a hint of warmth after the finish.

M-Smooth with moderate carbonation. A little of the alcohol lingers on the tongue.

D-Very nice but maybe a little heavy for the ABV. One is about my limit, even at home.

A very nice brew from Founders. If they make a bad beer, I have never run across it.


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Photo of wheelinshirt
2.7/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Excited to try this one for a while, not really sure what to expect. Picked it up at Abe's for $3 or so, poured into a pint glass.

Less dark than i was expecting, it looks like a mahogany color with lots of little tiny sediment particles, some visible carbonation and a modest light tan head that receded to a thin covering and left hole sections of the glass covered in solid lace.

Smell is boozy and full of sweet dark malts, some dark ripe fruit, some toffee notes. Pretty nice mix.

But here is where things start to turn ugly. The taste is immediately boozy and sweet, as expected, but the bitter roasted malts don't seem to meld very well with the sugar and alcohol. Also, the burnt toffee (i think that is how i would describe that) taste is pretty upfront and not really to my liking.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Pretty damn good, actually.

Drinkability is severely limited by the combination of flavors that I didn't particularly enjoy. Someone else, though, might have this same beer and absolutely love it. Definately interesting, i might even pick one up to age it for a couple years, but, fresh at least, it isn't really for me.

EDIT: as i got down about halfway and it had warmed enough it basically just started to taste like rum. Had to pour it out because it wasn't worth trying to choke down. Only the second or third time I have had to pour beer out. Very disappointing.

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Photo of beermanbrian
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky brown color with a ton of floaties. Small head and zip on the lace. Nothing appealing to this one. Kind of looks like a glass of ice tea. I may have served a little cool so i won't subtract for the lack of head, but even with a nice head it wouldn't look all that great.

Smell kicks in with tons of sweetness as expected. Toffee and just tons of malt and strong whisky note to finish it off.

Taste matches the smell with some bitterness in there to cut the sweetness. Suprisingly bland finish, no real aftertaste despite the strong flavor and the sharp alcohol note.

Heavy body. This one is a real sipper. Good for a night that you only want one. I have 2 more bottles that i might age for awhile, interested to see how this one ages. Overall I have mixed feelings about this one, it has some nice qualities but leaves me a little flat in the end. Maybe some aging will give it the smoothness to match the finish? We shall see. Worth picking up if you can find it.

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Photo of pwoods
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks a bunch to cburian for this brew in my Secret Bunny package.

12oz. stubby brown bottle, poured into a snifter. Founders dating system is retarded.

A: Pours a dark shoe leather that's completely opaque. 1/2inch of tinted head forms and drops to some nice chunks. Decent lacing.

S: Nice strong alcohol aroma. Very appealing. Loads of spices though my weak nose is having trouble picking them apart. Rich sugary malts explode with a pleasant alcohol line. Really diggin' the spices.

T/M: Malts are intense. Very sweet, rich, oaky, sandy(?), plenty of spices. There's an assertive bitterness but that's all I'm getting from the hops. Body is nearly full but not heavy. Carbonation brings a nice smoothness. Again, the spices make this brew.

D: Slow sipper, indeed. Tasty and quaffable. I'd say night cap only. Is there a better brewery out there besides Founders? My other 2 favorites have some catching up to do(Surly and GLBC).

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

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Liquid is a thick, dark tawny/brownish color, very cloudy with some floating particles. Light tan head that has nice retention resulting a in a thin film and a thick ring with a ring of lacing with some long streaks.
S: Predominantly sweet smell with a slight boozy touch. Malt sweetness in the background, and up front, spices, butterscotch, gingerbread, dark fruits. As this warms it pinballs between being very appealing to me and slightly too strong.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation, slightly watery in the finish. Taste follows the smell and borders on being slightly too sweet. Flavors of caramelized dark fruit, spices, molasses, sugar, vanilla and a background of alcohol. Also has a slight oaky flavor.

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Photo of alexgash
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. screw top bottle from the 2007 release. Served at cellar temp.

Mostly clear burnt sienna with reddish copper edges. A little bit of particulate matter floating around from the pour. Small, tight-bubbled, light khaki head. Some lacing. Whiskeyish, butterscotch nose. Sweet, boozy malts and fruit. Some herbal, piny resin as well.

Sugary malts up front edged with some toasted, slightly bitter flavors. Boozy fruit gives way to big caramel and butterscotch malts. Hints of vanilla, whiskey, and oak seep in before herbal hop bitterness takes over the finish. Big time lingering butterscotch, fruit, and coconut. Warming, but not too hot. Full-bodied with a pretty creamy feel.

This old ale is a little hoppier than others I've had, but it's still pretty tasty!

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Photo of emerge077
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

^That is a beautiful picture ^
Aged bottle, first release? 12oz. shared with kmpitz2, thanks!

It pours a tawny reddish brown, murky with suspended particles. Light gets through a little bit. Some spotty lace is left, and at the very least a ring around the edge.

Aroma is mellow, sweet toffee and caramel, I can tell this is a beefy one. As it warms, more depth is apparent.

Toffee flavors, with an oak nuance behind it. Very cohesive and mellowed, it doesn't feel alcoholic at all. Caramel and wood, sturdy and balanced. Age has worked wonders on this beast. Rich and fairly well carbonated, it has a divine feel to it. Seek it out...

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn Heights, MI, in March 2008 for $3.99. That's a pricy one!

Pours a moderately cloudy brown with minimal head, only a thin whisp after a few minutes.

Aromas of dark fruits (cherries, figs and dates come to mind), dark bread malts, and heavily varnished wood.

Flavor includes the heavy, rich malts and moderately sweet dark fruits. A strong fusel alcohol burn doesn't so much go down my throat as evaporated up my sinuses. Heavy syrupy mouthfeel makes this a sipper, one to enjoy slowly.

Tasty, enjoyable, a good version of the style. And since I want to be a curmudgeon some day, this is a good one to get used to! Seriously, a little to strong and rich for me, a decent once in a while beer, maybe in smaller than 12 ounce servings.

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Photo of Lothore
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep, amber with a 1.5 finger, eggshell head that fades fairly quickly.

S- Smell is very malty, with a deep piney hoppiness that reminds me of bigfoot.

T- Taste is very malty, caramel, with too much hop influence throughout the middle.

M- Thick with a bit too much carbonation.

D- I wasn't too impressed by this one. Not bad but it just didn't have that raisin and fig influence that I love in old ales.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought this bottle home with me from a business trip to East Lansing. Thank you, me.

Wow. This is a beautiful beer right from the start. Pours a pretty copper/bronze color with hints of ruby red thrown in for good measure. Big, fat, two-finger head on top that lingers a while and finally recedes with a lace wake. Nice. The nose is bold and malty, and really fruitier than expected. Bursting with berry scents and a funky spiciness as well. A slight formadehyde aroma too, but I think that may be just my olfactory sense playing tricks on me. The taste is mellow, mostly of a malt character, with some dark fruit flavors as well. Some light spices. Lots of caramel and some faint toffee and molasses. Very nice. Mouthfeel is dense, smooth, and velvety.

A fine old ale here. High ABV (9.3%) is masked well by finely blended and balanced ingredients. I could easily toss back a few of these and not know what was going to hit me until it was too late. Tasty and easy-drinking. I'd recommend this to just about anyone. Would serve as a great social lubricant at parties, and would go especially well with desserts such as flan or bread pudding.

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Photo of DIM
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

a: This one is a clear golden amber color. A violent pour produces a medium sized off-white head that quickly fades to a lacey ring around the glass.

s: The aroma here is highly alcoholic, but it isn't overwhelming. It blends extremely well with the perfumed flowery hops, and the sweet, peaty malts. Along with some plum smells, this all adds up to smelling quite a bit like brandy.

t: The taste mirrors the smel for the most part, but it is perhaps a bit sweeter here. Flavors of caramelized plums, sweet peaty grains, and dry flowery hops are all blanketed by a warming brandy like alcohol. This is very good now, but I think some time in the cellar would make this even better.

m: The carbonation is gentle, making for a perfect silky, but thick, body.

d: This is a great sipper on a cool evening. Thanks to hoppymeal for this outstanding extra.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass. This was received sometime in mid-2007 from a midwest trader as an extra; no date on the bottle...since it's an Old Ale (9.3%), I figured the unknown age wouldn't be much of a factor.

A: Very pretty hue...a toasty, reddish auburn that glows like an ember. Everything else is less attractive: a virtually still carbonation, many suspended bits of tiny yeast, a pencil-thin strand of light tan around the rim. No lace. Looks 'old'...but the color nudges this above 'average'.

S: Immediate aroma of raisins, cherries, and a boozy oaken bourbon. Citrus hopping, tons of malty toffee/sugar sweetness - this smells somewhat like a mellowed English barleywine.

A: So much of what's in the aroma comes forward in the flavor - very happy with that! The cherry/raisin/bourbon flavor is impressively complex, with a balanced hoppy spiciness and even some oak tartness. Why am I so convinced that this wood-aged, when there's nothing on the bottle or Founders website that indicates this? Both my wife and I tasted this barrel-like flavor first and foremost...

M: Certainly there's been some softening of the carbonation, which in turn gives a nice velvety quality. Not a huge body, nor a lengthy lingering aftertaste; this one is smooth and pleasantly warm in the mouth and down the throat.

D: Wonderful to drink at the moment. Whatever some extra aging has done to downgrade the appearance has been made up for in drinkability and texture. Well-balanced flavors and enticing aroma make for an ale I'd love to sip on again. Recommended!

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Photo of twokansamm
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red in color with a super thin tan head.

Brown sugar and caramel aromas dominate. Others are in there too, like toffee and raisins.

Caramel and brown sugar immediately with a hint of chocolate lingering... and then comes a hint of raisins.

A sipper, as the sweetness tends to be there all the time. No crazy hops on the backend to overwhelm, in fact maybe a bit short in the balancing attempt.

This is not my favorite style, but this beer has a lot going on which makes it enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UPDATE - 11/02/08: Threw this one under my bed (I use complex ageing systems) and left it for six months. Tried it again and WOW. Totally different flavor than when I had it fresh. Huge whiskey flavors and aromas flying all over the place. Really an incredible drink. Still crazy sweet, but no alcohol at all, just that sort of musky aroma the burbon gives off. I'd like to try cellaring more of these to see what happens...

Pours a nice amber brown color with a finger of slightly off-white head that dissolves to a fine film fairly fast. Solid looking, although the lacing is fairly non-existent. Nose is strong, full of toffee and caramel. Some sweet dried fruit in there too, and maybe a touch of spicy hoppy alcohol. Flavor is spicy and acidic. Quite vinous, with raisins and a sort of acidic aftertaste. Again, principally strong toffee malt but with a nice fruity background as well. A highly sweet beer, and fairly alcoholic (the 9.3% is fairly well hidden in the fruit and spiciness though). Body is medium with very mild, smooth carbonation, as is fairly standard for the style (and for a beer this high in alcohol). Overall, a very tasty one, although the ABV might keep me from having more than one or two. A very good dessert beer. I'm going to try cellaring one and see if the spiciness mellows at all.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Grabbed a single of this in Cambridge. This will be my second time trying this brew, but the first as far as trying it from the bottle. Poured into my Stella glass a ruby color, with a small white heading. Smell is dominated by raisin, maple syrup, molasses and a bit of caramel. Taste is right along the same lines, with the maple syrup and raisins shining the most...is very sweet and sugary. Body is full and isn't afraid to throw its weight around with the alcohol. It is there and you will know it after a bottle. Great beer, but the intense flavors and in your face alcohol make it a difficult beer to drink. Reminds me a little bit of North Coast's Old Ale, which is also quite enjoyable. A beer to sit down and take your time with. Cheers

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,204 ratings.