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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

1,203 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,203
Hads: 4,289
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 20.1%
Wants: 186
Gots: 979 | FT: 53
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: 1,203 | Hads: 4,289
Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on May 8, 2014.

The pour is a handsome looking copper to dark amber or more akin to mahogany with a modest, long lasting off-white head. A tad foggy.

The aroma is generally subtle or muted but I do pick up a nice character of roasted caramel malts, oak, molasses, and only a hint of booze, which I thought might be more predominant for a 9.8% fresh old ale.

Medium to full body but also smooth.

The taste is what makes it all worthwhile as the molasses and caramel malts are voracious in their presentation with only a vague alcohol burn. You would get more booze in a malt liquor. Mildly bitter finish. Wonderfully drinkable for what it is.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle poured into pint glass 7/4/14

A almost clear amber with some fine sediment, thumbs width of tan foam hangs around for ages leaving 4 distinct rings followed by random patches, looks great

S heaps of caramel and toffee, candied cherries, brown sugar, sugar coated raisins, vanilla, leather, just a hint of oak and molasses

T slightly more oak and less of the caramels but still quite sweet, some hazelnut I didn't smell, some spice I can't place, tastes solid but I preferred the smell

M thick and syrupy, low carbonation but to be expected, no heat at all, my lips are stuck together, sweet woody finish

O the booze is invisible, quite drinkable for 10%er, lots of sweet malt and just a little barrel, well rounded stuff

I didn't expect to see this want of mine on the bottom shelf of a random store in Australia. If I didn't need to fly across the Pacific I might have grabbed a few to sit on.

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

Picked up a four pack last June at Julio's. Bottles 3/1/10. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Crystal clear copper pour with small suspended yeast particles. Atop sits a one finger offwhite head that slowly faded to leave a nice halo.

S - Nice carmel and toffee notes along with some dark fruits. Light vanilla, all very mellow.

T - Much like the nose its a nice mixing of mellow flavours. Carmel, vanilla, toffee, dark fruits, some oak. The ABV is slightly noticeable.

M - Low carbonation, nearly flat, but that 9.8 isnt even slightly visible.

O - Very tasty old ale. Will crack the three over the next 4 years.

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

Picked up at Archer Liquors in Chitown, thanks Randy!

Pours a cloudy brown/amber, thin tan head forms, nice thick lace ring around the glass, good retention, looks like a sipper! Smell is nice, bourbon, vanilla, raisin/date goodness, toffee, some chocolate, coconut, very nice. Taste is toffee, some bourbon, vanilla oak, coconut, very rich and malty, bit of roast, nice clean bitterness in the finish, just right. Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation, nice heat going down. I could sip this for hours.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The pour creates a huge, thick crop of nicotine stained beige head. The retention of the oversized head is very good. The body of the beer is scarlet red. Aroma is a bit toxic and fruity. Like spiked punch. The taste, it turns out, is not toxic at all. Rather smooth and velvety. Very nice taste. Very little sign of alcohol. And very easy to drink. This is a solid Old Ale. Malts are so smooth on the palate. Fruitiness is very evident, but not overly estery in nature. Bits of caramel and toffee. This one got better as it warmed up and finished fabulously.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Captainren for sending a 4 Pack out to Portland.

A- Reddish cloudy amber with a thin tan head. Good lacing

S- Not much smell here. Should I be worried?

T- Ahh, there it is. Sweet fruit, cherries, spice.

D- Slightly oily in the mouth, smooth, a small bitter bite at the end.

O- I could easily drink multiple of these. Good stuff.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Bryant lake Bowl on tap.
A: Copper amber with a slight haze under a 1” off white clingy foam collar.
S: Herbal hop note, spice, toffee, raw sugar, malt.
T: Big flavors of caramel, toffee, cardamom, a hint of anise, cola, vanilla.
F: Chewy, creamy, some astringency from the oak.
O: a big bold beer for sipping.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle received in trade with cfrancis - thanks!

Appearance - Hazy copper/brown colour with a below average size fizzy/frothy beige coloured head. It's hard to make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, butterscotch/caramel, chocolate, peat

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with some caramel/butterscotch. There is also a bit of a dark fruit taste and a bit of anise, chocolate, and peat. It ends with a buttery/malty aftertatse with a slight bitterness.

Overall - More of a wee-heavy than a old ale. It tastes better than it smells and the mouthfeel needs a little boost of carbonation. The alcohol is well hidden and the aftertaste is the highlight for me. Not sure I'd have again with all of the great beers out there to choose from.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was surprised to find a 4-pack of this at my local Sam's Wines and Liqours in Downers Grove.Had to pick on up.

Appearance- Pours a very thin, fizzy head with no retention and a sparse ring o' foam. A slightly murky/mucky deep amber with no bubbles to be seen or lacing left behind. But not expected really from an old ale.

Smell- A great malty vine of grapes and currants amidst seas of amber and crystal malts in the nose. Gives hints of molasses even.

Taste- Pretty darkly yet portly vinous. Pretty good combination of malty sweet and viney tart. The currant like flavors mix well with some red malts and prunes that better define the sweetness.

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Photo of dgilks
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear mahogany-red colour. Big, creamy, light tan head. Fair head retention and nice lacing.

Big melanoidin malt aroma. Toffee. Earthy hops and bitterness. Pretty good.

Sweet malt with a big, nutty, fruity character. Plenty of earthiness. Touches of bitterness. Really sweet but still balanced and interesting.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

Solid beer. Great flavour and well balanced. Really like this.

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

12oz. bottle poured into a KBS goblet glass. Bottled date of 2/2009 printed on the neck! Wow, is Founders finally printing bottling dates now?!

(A)- Poured a light-medium brown amber that is nearly clear. Little foam present but did have a light layer of yellowish-white bubbles covering the surface. Tiny bits of lacing appearing here and there.

(S)- Slight hickory smokiness hidden behind some crazy caramel-ish malt complexities. Some thoughts of molasses & nuttiness.

(T)- Those malt complexities are really striking in the flavor profile. The caramel/molasses/honey/vanilla/butterscotch becomes a really different combination in the way they are layered; almost buttery. Fairly candy-like, but more like a sweet tawny port!

(M)- Like I said earlier, the texture of this is almost buttery smooth with a tickle of carbonation on the tongue. The tiny hop bitterness bite on the finish is almost nonexistent, but worth mentioning because its such a surprise amidst this malt monster.

(D)- The sweetness from the malts masks the whopping 9.8% pretty well. In my opinion, this is the pinnacle of the perfect dessert beer. It would go great with a great Cameroon wrapped cigar! I am excited to see how this will age considering how much like a tawny port this really is!

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

This beer is murky brown with almost no head (the little foam that did exist was light tan colored). The smell was rich, malt + plums/raisins. The taste was even richer, a little like a really strong version of an English barleywine. Lots of dark fruits (mainly raisins) and malty sweetness, with a little alcohol burn. Thick mouthfeel, substantial beer, easy to see why it's rated highly. Old ales aren't my favorite, they're good once in a while, I pretty much tried this one because it was made by Founders. As usual they did a great job.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Newcastle pub glass.

A - Pours a nice oaky amber color sort of hazy with pour producing slight sediment on bottom of glass. Date on neck is 2/24/09, yikes almost a year and a half old! Hope it tastes good.

S - Mostly oak, molasses, and slight bourbon, which really isn't too strong. Maybe it's mellowed?

T - Upfront an almost caramel bourbon that seemed overpowering at first but ended up really smooth! The oak has a nice touch of finishing slightly bitter. Really good for it's age!

M - Full bodied and alcohol is noticeable but balanced. A Bourbon beer I can dig!

D - Overall the bottle date kind of scared me but as a bourbon beer I was intrigued to try it and found it to be balanced and full of flavor with less sediment than the Nemesis 2009 and even cheaper at 4.25 a bottle! I believe this beer is pretty epic with age and may go back and get another. Still a very solid beer after a year and a half so bravo Founders!

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

Aromas are intially light with bready and biscuity maltiness; a slight amount of fusel alcohols. As this warms, however, much more emerges. You can detect some nougat and caramels; almost dead on for a Milky Way candy bar.
The tastes begin with brown sugar and treacle/molasses; quite typical for the style. There is a hop presence, bitterness and flavors, but they are not decernable over the malt flavors. Slightly citrusy and earthy.
Mouthfeel is quite full with adequate carbonation. Overall this is a good example of an under-appreciated style of beer, if you purchase a fresh bottle I would recommend letting it cellar for a little because the alcohol was slightly detectable. Founders knows how to make strong beers well that's for sure.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a small tan head on top of a dirty brown body. A great whiskey and caramel malt aroma with some woodiness and roasted malt along with hints of berry fruits. A medium body that passes smooth with a just a little roughness - osome type of oakiness makes it go down easy with small amounts of bready and roasted malts behind a large chunk of sweet malt. Little bit of fruity hops balances this stick, slow sipper and the ABV complements it with a dry backbite. Just a quality sipper that is very enjoyable.

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy consistency. There was a good quarter inch of foamy head and solid lacing.

S: Very potent smell of multiple sugars, malt, and some hops.

T: A nicely complex taste of malt, mild hops, caramel, toffee and some other sugars. The sugars almost overwhelm the taste, but it stays fairly balanced.

M: A pretty good amount of carbonation and a kind of slick finish. Full-bodied.

D: In some ways, this reminded me of a barleywine, probably because of the caramel. Overall, this is a drinkable beer, one good for the winter months.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.05/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Haymarket into a 4oz tasting glass...Pours a deep amber with orange notes, a decent tope head, looks good...The aroma is pretty good very sweet with lots of caramel, honey, spice and a little oak. Good start...The taste just doesn't translate, this is borderline horrible. Almost all bitter alcohol from start to finish, oak, and honey try to help out but they can't do enough. I had a hard time finishing this. I just can't believe how bad this is.

Avoid for me.

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Photo of barczar
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque medium brown with copper and caramel tones and a modest khaki head that leaves sheets of lacing and a thin layer of foam.

Sweet, doughy, yeasty malt, caramel, and floral hops form the initial aroma. Plums, hints of raisins, dates, and figs add complexity.

Rich, sweet caramel malt provides a nice brown sugar opening, with bready toasted, and nutty notes surfacing mid palate. There's an earthy bitterness throughout, preventing the malt from becoming cloying. Prunes, dates, and figs underlie the malt subtly.

Body is syrupy and thick, with low carbonation and noticeable, but not overwhelming, alcohol warmth. There's a slight harshness in the finish.

Not as complex as the best of the style, and a touch on the sweet side. I don't know if there's enough there to improve with age. Guess I'll have to find out. Rich malt backbone.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a dimmed amber hue. Light haze but it is fairly transparent. Head is decent. Cream colored and thin but it suits the beer well. Body leaves legs along the glass. Pretty brew.

S-The oak-aging can be subtly detected in the nose. I find the molasses to be more noticeable. The 50 IBUs are hidden fairly well because I am not getting much hoppiness. Very sweet. Toasted caramel and tons of brown sugar. I also get a light pepper note as well as blonde roast coffee.

T-Flavor is pretty tasty. The oak is more present here and sets in at the end of the flavor profile with moderate-to-mild intensity. The molasses is tasty. Spicy tobacco and some herbally bitter hoppiness. I would like a bit more wood here though. ABV is well blended with the flavors.

M-Creamy and syrupy. Soft but plentiful carbonation bubbles. Not flat, just not strong bubbles. Slick and a bit dry with lighter bitterness (but enough to recognize the bitterness is present).

O/D-I found this to be a solid offering from Founders but it is probably in the lower tier of their brews. Quite nice but fails to truly distinguish itself and leave a legacy in my mind. The Better Half version of this beer is a giant improvement. Still, this is a cool singe to try but doesn't warrant a $15-16 dollar four-pack price tag.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at Nathaniel Square Corner Store in Rochester, NY.

Pours a light reddish color, clear, with a small half inch head, and a little bit of lacing down the glass.

Smells like brown sugar, caramel malt, and some dark fruits.

The taste is similar. Not quite as strong of a flavor as I'd expect with an oak-aged old ale brewed with molasses, but it's still decently nice. Tastes like caramel, toffee, and burnt brown sugar. Some dark fruits as well.

Medium bodied, slightly thinner than I'd like. Low carbonation, almost none whatsoever.

A decent ale, but not one I'd clamor to try again.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, Riley's $3.99 ( i should note that I am able to consume this because hoppymeal sent me 1 as a trade extra, which i put in the cellar to replace this one)

appearance: poured from a seemingly appropriately labeled stubby bottled into a chalice...body is a deep garnet-mahogany, very little head to speak of and no retention...cola-esque

smell: quite interesting...smells of the makers mark i was sipping on last night at cafe montmarte...big bourbon aromas, heavy oak, vanilla, sweet caramel malt, fig, dark fruit

taste: Clearly you have to be a bourbon drinker to be a fan of this beer (which i am). initial flavours are strong bourbon, big oak undertones, touch of vanilla extract, toffee, fig, raisin and alcohol soaked plum, licorice, pine, sweet caramel. I like it. It brings a lot of different things to the style but it lacks a lot of characteristics as well

mouthfeel: smooth, bitterness left behind, alcohol is a touch 'hot'

drinkability: pretty good

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

czoch75 sent me a bottle of this last year, and I figured this fine Sunday is a worthy occasion to crack it. IIRc, this is the 2008 release

The pour is a mostly clear ruby red, marred by a slightly careless pour that results in a bunch of floating particles in the beer. A thin, tan head rises briefly, settling into a ring rather quickly.

Sweet, rich and malty on the nose, with plums, raisins, rum, brown sugar, beets, honey and alcohol. Quite deep and rich, and thoroughly acceptable. Mild oxidation is noticeable with a combination of sherry and cardboard. Slight fusel aroma is present, with the spicy character associated with it.

Opens sweet, with a more straightforward sugary sweet character with honey and brown sugar dominating. The fruit character that I picked up on the nose isn't as noticeable, and there's a mild date character present. Rum and raisins with a spicy rye character is noticeable. I'm getting a little bit of toffee before the finish that's a sweet with a bit of alcohol and a little bitterness that's burnt caramel in character.

Medium-full in body with an excellent, lush, creamy carbonation, this beer feels pretty awesome on the palate. The finish is a little disappointing in that it isn't very flavorful.

A definite sipper, I'm actually liking this.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, poured into a tulip glass is deep amber in color, looks syrupy as it is being poured; has tall, frothy head that holds excellent retention and leaves tons of sticky lacing all the way down the glass - impressive. Aromas are sticky sweet with toffee, vanilla, oak, honey and biscuit. Tastes are bold and sweet, cloyingly at times. Notes of vanilla, oak, toffee, caramel, are all present with it being rather boozy, especially as it warms. Finishes with a peppery prickle on the tongue. Mouth-feel is velvety smooth and creamy. Overall, I loved coming back to this one, but the sweetness is a bit too much for the last 4 or so ounces. Excellent Founders quality as usual though.

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Photo of ccrida
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle that I've sat on for about 12 months, after a trade with ATPete, thx! Poured into my Delirium snifter, Old Curmudgeon is hazy rusty brown with an pretty dense light sand head that leaves pretty heavy lace.

Smell is sweet cured fruit, golden raisins and medjool dates, definitely a lighter feel then the more common raisin and prune notes. Softer at the cellar serving temp, the fruits really opened up more at room temp, some kiwi, which I thought was very distinct and enjoyable, before the caramel started to dominate, with some clean alcohol vapors coming through at the end.

Taste is pretty rich and sweet, there are some oak and vanilla notes that make me think this is barrel aged, although I really don't know anything about it. Very nice though, with some of the light tropical fruit notes from the nose, ABV well hidden for sure. Lots of depth and super tasty without being a palate buster, I'm super impressed.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, creamy, medium bodied. On the drier side but not as spicy as I'd expect from the ABV.

Drinkability is high, wow. Super tasty, smooth, easy drinking, a killer old ale for sure. I can't believe how easy drinking this is with only a few months on it's belt, even it it had a few more when I bought it, it's still probably less then a year old. Wow, great beer!

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,203 ratings.