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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.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,219 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,219
Hads: 4,342
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 194
Gots: 1,005 | FT: 57
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 1,219 | Hads: 4,342
Photo of brdc
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

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Photo of abfraser
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

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Photo of jeonseh
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber with light trails of carbonation trailing upwards; Rather opaque as I can barely see through it and actually find myself looking into my reflection. One can tell that the beer is going to be sticky in the mouth. Had a one finger head but that went down to a bit of foam trailing on the sides and islands of it floating about my snifter

S - loads of caramel malt with hints of dark fruit as well. Definitely get a hint of the alcohol as well. Scents of sweet, orange remind me a bit of grand marnier; actually get a hint of brandied cherries and vanilla as well which just adds a great feeling to this brew;

T - At first, a hint of caramel malt with a hint of brown sugar and cherry; There is a big whiff of spice that just warms you up and tingles your tongue fading away into candied dates; Near the end there is a candied orange peel comes up in the end along with a bit of alcoholic bite; reminds me a bit of a brandied toffee bread pudding with bits of cherries strewn throughout.

M - Actually not too sticky; the mouth feel is rather big and has a nice carbonation to it which really seems to lend itself to the orange peel flavors in the taste; nice warming tingle left on the tongue that matches the flavors of the spice

D - Overall a nice complex sipper. It was rather good but I expected it to be a bit sweeter. I think this would be good with a bit of age on it to let the orange peel die down a bit; it was rather spicy as well and sometimes think that took a bit away from the other flavors. I do like this though, but not my favorite ale. Think it would go well with some ice cream or maybe a brownie.

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

Appearance: It pours a very hazy, garnet tinted brown color. The head is off-white and about a finger and a half deep. Retention was short lived and light lacing lined the glass. I suspect the 9.3% abv got to it.

Smell: It's very sweet and malty smelling. Mostly smells like caramel malts. There's a healthy dose of dark fruit there as well. Raisin and plum aromas are strong. Alcohol is no doubt present. Very prominent. There is a very unique aspect to the nose here. Something about it just reminds of standing on a wharf taking in the smell. It's not exactly fishy. I can't quite put my finger on it. But, it's very unique and I like it.

Taste: Loads of caramel malt hit the palate first. Very sweet and malty. Really nice base for this beer. There's are some plum and raisin flavors, but they're not quite as strong here. They play a nice complementary role however. There's a slight bit of spice to it. Not strong, but a nice touch. Slight vanilla taste emerges late. Alcohol is actually blended very well and is not as noticeable here. Slight warming effect though. I can't say there's any single, unique flavors that jump out here as one did before. But, this is a really great tasting beer nonetheless.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick and incredibly smooth. Carbonation is pretty and really helps it attain a smooth, creamy feel. Drinkability is good, though somewhat limited by the high abv and big feel. It's truly a big, filling beer.

Old Curmudgeon's a kick ass old ale. Founders makes awesome beer. I'm really in awe of their seasonal/limited releases. They're easily one of the top brewers out there. If you're into big, thick, flavorful beers, this one's for you. Highly recommended.

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

Murky muddled ambrosia sits in my chalice large off white beige head that dwindles slow and leaves behind sparse lacing. Aromatics are the impressive part of the equation early on with herbal mint and pine scented incense, interesting spice mix almost like eating at an aromatic Indian restaurant. Malt highlights are deep alcohol infused ripened figs and plum with a touch of smoked peat whiskey highlights, talk about a cigar beer. By the way this thing never saw the barrel it's all malt, hop, water and yeast. Flavor provides excessive bitterness and massive malt, I love the mix. Alcohol esters with ripe big fruit profile includes hints of toffee with caramel infused tart apple, figs, and plum notes. Heavy pine lacquer bitterness, with vanilla oak and butterscotch notes. Heavy dry yeast tone with a soothing alcohol burn at 9.3%. Mouthfeel is full bodied yet doesn't hit the viscous level on my texture scale. Carbonation is natural smooth and cleansing between the brash bitterness and dry yeast profile. Ending notes on the palate are a blend of excessive malts and bitter earthy hop, great stuff. Drinkability, is excellent makes you overanalyze beer, for under three bucks this old ale may have pushed the style further than any other version I've had to date. Including the other famous Michigan version, this beats the pants off the Third Coast Old Ale, grab a Drew Estates Natural cigar and a four pack of this for an Old World experience.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this at Jungle Jim's in Fairfield so I though it was time to give it a try. 12 ounce stubby bottle with an old man on the front.

A: Pours murky red with brown highlights. No foam buld-up on the initial pour but after the pour, small bubbles came to the top leaving a tan ring and dotted lacing.

S: Smelled of bready yeasts, sweet malts, light cinammon, bananna, vanilla, caramel and a bit of mustiness.

T: Full flavored blast of sweet, caramelized malts - Malts all over the place followed by subdued flavors including spice, bananna and vanilla. Slight warming alcohol becomes present after allowing the beer to warm to room temperature.

M: Full bodied and oily. Finshes very wet with the slightest amount of bitterness and low carbonation.

Interesting and enjoyable. Good example for the style.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby/brown/orange color with minimal head and nice ring of lacing.

Scent of sweet malts, oats, some sweet fruit, a pinch of hops, honey, cinnamon, and a bit of alcohol. Great scent, there is a lot going on here, but not too much, and the alcohol is balanced very well and not overpowering.

Taste of oats, honey, molasses, sweet malts, cinnamon, and some alcohol. Finishes with oak and some bourbon. As impressive as the scent, for being so fresh this is impressive to have such depth and strength, being balanced and complex already I can't wait to see how this is aged.

Mouthfeel is heavy, smooth, and harsh. A strong mouthfeel for a strong beer, good stuff.

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Photo of Wildman
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a cloudy golden brown color and formed a small off white head that left latticed lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel, raisins and chocolate is present. The flavor is of malt, caramel, plums and hint of chocolate. The body is medium and the finish is sweet with a slight peppery quality with the warming aspect of the alcohol present coming through. A nice beer from Founders that I wish would show up here in Columbus more, or at least more places.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased before it was supposed to be released. thanks glunz!

A- dark amber, almost ruby body with almost no head. what little there is is quite sticky.

S- malty and fruity. cherries, plums, and red grapes. a slight hint of alcohol. not as intense as i was expecting.

T- very sweet and fruity. very barleywine like. the alcohol taste is there for sure. warms the throat all the way down.

M- a little thin for what i was expecting. somewhat creamy.

D- great for a cold winter night indoors. not so good in the summer. one is probably enough. its pretty potent. ill be curious to see what this develops into.

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Photo of tedsox31
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The color is a darker amber color with a medium head that dissipates stubbornly and leaves some lacing down the side.

Smells of caramel, spices, toffee, and some fruit. Smells good.

The taste is sweet, of malt, caramel, and coriander. There is not much of a hop presence until after I swallow, in which it then lingers. The coriander comes through as it warms, and I do not taste much of an alcoholic presence despite the abv.

This is a clean, medium-carbonated feel, and not too heavy.

A very quaffable beer. Probably wouldn't want more than a couple because of the deceptive abv. More of a "sipper". I'll be enjoying the rest of this 4 pack.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter. Poured a mahogany color with copious yeast particles present in solution. Not quite opaque, as there was some light penetration, put extremely diminished clarity. Quarter inch off-white cap quickly dissipated into a swirly skim. Nose is pretty incredible; wonderful complexity. Picked up vanilla, bourbon, caramel and oak on this one straight out of the bottle. Taste consistent with nose, but some more booziness comes out as well as a mild dark fruit character. Really quite tasty (I had a hard time deciding between a 4 & a 4.5 on this one). Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a light-effervescent tingle. Some viscousness to the body, but not overwhelmingly so. Definitely a sipper, but very pleasurable to drink and savor as it warms. I am curious to see how this ages, as I think it will most likely improve over time.

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Photo of midaszero
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks stopbarking for the bottle

A - Cloudy dark red brown with almost no head at all

S - can smell it from a distance. excellent mixture of dark fruits, caramel sweetness, oak, and also toffee. a little bit of boozes to be detected as well

T - Oak aged raisins covered in caramel and toffee sauce. Nice clean finish with some alcohol to be had in the back.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - WOW I could drink this all the time it is simply amazing.

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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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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,219 ratings.