Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
89
very good
1,257 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,257
Ratings:
4,568
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
20.05%
 
 
Wants:
203
Gots:
1,119
For Trade:
54
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,257 | Ratings: 4,568
Reviews by BrewMaster:
Photo of BrewMaster
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Served in a pint glass on tap at the brewery. Cloudy dark brownish red with a creamy light tan head. Decent head retention that thins to lacy islands. Good, sticky lacing and a very good looking beer.

Smell: Big roasty malt nose. Some sour toastiness in the nose, but the malt dominates. Very pleasant.

Taste: Roasty and fruity, some tanginess to the toasty malt with a slight berry and cherry flavor coming from behind the malt flavor. Brown sugar, diacetyl, and a long, toasty, alcohol finish. A touch of hop bitterness caps the last third of the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Slightly sticky and very smooth. Soft on the palate and warming to the mouth. The beer coats my palate well giving my whole mouth access to the lovely flavors.

Drinkability: The good malty base, rich fruity sweet combo and nice toasty tang make this a very tasty brew. The waitress/barmaid told me this was a brown ale, but perhaps she was mistaken.

 941 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of doktorhops
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Curmudgeon, are you as amazed as I am that I haven’t reviewed you yet you misanthropic old geezer? ... didn’t think so. Well anyway here we are. I decided long ago I would make my way through the hundred odd beers that Founders brews and this is number 5 for me. Never has knowing you’ve got a mountain to climb looked so fantastic from the bottom, and with that thought - Founders Curmudgeon, an Old Ale, brewed with molasses and oak aged? Brilliant move Founders, brilliant move, time to see if that move pays off (he said knowing it will).

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Hazy russet body with a caramel-tinged half centimetre head that dissipates to a light lacing. The fact that it even has a head at all at 9.8% ABV is surprising enough (in a good way). 9/10.

S: MO-LASS-ES! And plenty of it on the nose, don’t think I’ve ever whiffed so much molasses in a brew before. Aroma-wise there’s not much more to say - this could be another FBS where they give you a single aroma and pack in a massive face-punch of flavour - I hope that’s what Founders is doing right now with this curmudgeon. 8/10.

T: And that is precisely what Founders have done. This is one creamy gooey molasses and caramel extravaganza, with characters of: Molasses, caramel, butterscotch, brandy with a dry/earthy hop and woody finish (it’s in the oak, yo). There is a decent amount of booze knocking about giving off a fusel (hot) alcohol note that the sugar, try as it might, it cannot hide. However it is still a tasty Old Ale with more complexity as it “opens” up. 9/10.

M: Heavy bodied, quite viscous, like some sort of molasses-flavoured beer molasses, with a light but very dense carbonation. This is a beer that wants to coat your tongue in its sticky-gooey majesty. Bring it on I say. 9/10.

D: What Founders have done with this, and FBS and Centennial IPA and FIS, et al. is craft a distinctly heavy-rich brash-bold in-your-face experience with every style they seemingly encounter. Not yet have I had a Founders beer and gone “that’s a bit average/bland” they seem to know where the envelope is, how to push it, and extract the maximum from every beer, and I man-love* the bastards for their no-compromise outlook on brewing, cheers Founders! 10/10.

Food match: Roast pork, roast vegetables, ROAST EVERYTHING!

*Which consists solely of a well-timed fist bump.

 2,405 characters

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes written on 1-6-11.

Into a snifter gifted to me by my lovely girlfriend, Curmudgeon pours a cloudy, amber-orange with a medium khaki, one-finger head which retains nicely. I could have decanted this a bit better, as many little yeasties are floating about in the beer. The carbonation appears low and slow and the lacing is attractive, with hilltops and dots.

The smell is very malt-forward with aromas of caramel, brown sugar, and cinnamon, which all meld together well. When swirled aggressively, the woodnotes of the oak aging are very evident, along with a slightly peppery aroma. The more I inhale, the bigger the cinnamon contribution is. Founders website says that this is brewed with molasses- I can smell a little of that, as well.

The taste is somewhat spicier and woodier than I thought it would be, with a very earthy undertone on my tongue. Those flavors couple with a heavy malt presence of caramel and brown sugar, with some cinnamon spice taste in addition. The molasses adds a molasses cookie taste. The finish is nicely dry from the oak and bittering hops and just a little alcoholic heat soaks into my tongue at the end of the sip.

The mouthfeel is silky, creamy, and buttery on the tongue, but with a fine balancing nip on the sides from the oak- aging, hops, and alcohol. The finish is fairly clean for such a syrupy beast. I think the mouthfeel is the highlight of the beer.

I like this crotchety old fella and will have it again, but I've also had other Old Ales that I like a bit better. It is definitely not sessionable, but makes for a good sipper. This is another fine offering from Founders, but certainly not their best.

 1,673 characters

Photo of Jjski
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Old Ale= harsher and sharper than barley wine. Harder to easily quaff and slow sipper, winter warmer, with darker cocoa notes rather than sweetish barley wines.

IMHO a perfect example of Old Ale, as I find Old Stock Ale unpalatable until it's a least 4 years old. Drink this beer without expecting immediate gratification. It's a drawn out process of letting your palate attenuate to the harshness. Improves vastly aged at one year, with orange peel notes emerging from the hops while the malty spine remains strong.

Try to yield, and the Curmudgeon reminds you: the easy road is not the path to seek. Accept the challenge and expand your perception . Cheese-wiz is easier to eat than extra-sharp cheddar. Which is better is up to you. If you opt for cheese-whiz, it pairs well with a wine cooler.

 805 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ruby amber color as poured into a stout glass. Off-white head appears low and creamy. Smells of sweet aged wood.
Tastes of creamy vanilla oak-aged beer, slightly boozy but balanced and , most importantly, quite tasty.
This succeeds in being sweet but not cloying, and ending with flavorful citrus hops as well as an oaky bite you'd expect from a beer aged as such. There's vanilla, and the molasses plays a lighter, nice role in the flavor to me.
Feels medium-full, smooth, slightly sticky.
I enjoy this old ale. I'm sure age can only work wonders for it.

 559 characters

Photo of PatrickKellyCT
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had a bottle from 2012, which had been left on the shelf at the beer store.

Enjoyed it. Mouthfeel was very rich and sticky. Lots of malt. Definitely got lots of dark fruits and some maple.

Would be interesting to compare to a bottle fresh.

 242 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I always feel bad when I rate an Old Ale that isn't very old. But, since it is on the shelves, I will drink, and I will rate. Gulp....yep, it needs more time. There are some really nice flavors going on, but the beer is everywhere. The nose brings out everything from candied malts to spicy hops to dark fruits to caugh syrup. The tastes closely mimic the aromas, but with emphasis on a candy sweetness, harsh alcohols, and raisons and licorice. The beer feels a bit too hot and scrubbing in the mouth with sugary stickiness. It will be nice to see how the beer develops over the next year or two, but it's not ready yet. Thanks Clvand0 for the bottle.

 652 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Clear ruby-copper body, thick and rich looking, with a light tan head that fades to nothing. Nose is rich and buttery, molasses and caramel add a mild sweetness. Taste is buttery and warming, notes of molasses, caramel, toasted bread, toasted wood, toasted marshmallow, a touch of vanilla and bourbon/cognac. Leans sweet, but has overpowering warmth to steer it in a better direction. Body is rich, full, heavy, mouth-coating.
Quite a yummy specimen here. The sweetness is mitigated by heavier, warming flavors, and quite a good variety of them at that. Reminiscent of a quad or a barleywine. This wonderful brew did the opposite of its name and reversed my curmudgeonly attitude about old ales.

 695 characters

Photo of q33jeff
2.56/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

**
04/18/2013
05/03/2013
Musty. Aroma reminds me of the smell of old peoples houses that I recall from collecting as a paperboy. Great memories, terrible olfactories. Clear Copper, small head. Lasting lace.Quite sour. Overly bitter sour makes for a puckery feel. Endearing flavor, but takes a while to get into.Clean brew. Not smooth. After"feel" is "Pasta Starchy". Not quite a success; though I am still a big fan of Founders.
**

 446 characters

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours to a murky dark copper orange. Forms a quickly dissipating half finger of off white soapy head.
S - Malts malts and more malts. No hop profile to this beer whatsoever. Has milk stout qualities in the aroma. Once allowed to warm up a bit, more oak and molasses notes shine through in the aroma.
T - Once again, a ton of malts and no hops. Has a sweet boozey flavor with a little bitter oak in the back to round off the sweetness. Molasses is a bit faint but present. Beer is simple and rounded, malty sweetness with oak bitterness at the end. Extremely smooth and deceptively sessionable.
O - A quite good beer, not amazing, but very good. Definitely worth a try.
V - Medium value, standard 4 pack Founder's pricing.

 729 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Was given a bottle of this by a friend recently, having never had this before. This seemed like the typical Old Ale but because it was so strong, could have been easily confused with being a a Barleywine. Not a fast sipper, there was a lot of complexity to this under the surface and it was so well-crafted that I had to take my time going through this, not even taking into account how potent it was!

Nice pour to this as the beer had a dark copper hue to it, a good amount of clarity, and a moderate tan head that quickly settled. No lacing seen on the side of the glass as this beer had a relatively thin consistency to it. Lots of booze and molasses in the nose, which were even more pronounced when I gave this a sip. Lots of current and cherry under that, which complemented the smoky oak beautifully. Warming and somewhat thin, this went down smooth but not easily as the burn from the alcohol and the wood took a bit of getting used to. Hard to pick out the hops here but there was an ever slight hint of bitterness in the back, which had a blood orange tinge to it. The carbonation was good even if the bubbles themselves weren't visible.

Yes, this was strong and it felt every bit of it from the opening of the bottle to the last drop. The complexity of this is what made it stand out and it was on par with the other beer that I've had from Founders. Just chewy enough without being cloying, the body was full enough to counterbalance the wonderful range of complex flavors without detracting from them. Take a good half hour and more to enjoy this - it's worth it and one of the best examples of this style that's widely available.

 1,645 characters

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in November 2015. Liked to see the bottled date on the bottle, and drank it 5 months after the bottling.

Appearance: Deep amber with dark tan head. Beer is clear and not cloudy. Head is thick, and leaves a thin film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma filled with mix of roasted malt, sweet caramel, and some hops. Nice variety and balance

Taste: There is a nice mix of sweetness from the malt and bite from the hops. There is a little roasted coffee flavor, and I also get nice caramel flavors, balanced with a bit of hops. This was done in a nice combination with the other flavors. There is a nice variety of flavors in the aftertaste too.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Strong alcohol, which confirms the 9.8% on the bottle.

This is a smooth full-bodied Old Ale. It is an interesting combination of flavors, and I want to drink this again.

 875 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky melted toffee with blurry orange and amber edges. The pour resulted in scant head formation, just one finger of brown sugar colored cream that doesn't look as though it's interested in leaving much lace. That's okay, the beer itself more than makes up for it.

I like the nose, but it could be deeper and more complex. Maybe warming will help open things up a little. I smell earthy caramel, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. I've read that the 2006 vintage (this bottle) was aged in bourbon barrels. Unless something changes on the palate, I have my doubts about the barrel-aged bona fides of this batch.

Thankfully, Curmudgeon takes on more of a winning personality on the taste buds. I was beginning to think that Founders lost their touch for brewing great beer. No worries on that front. I love what I'm tasting at this point and should be blown away once the slight chill is lost. It tastes like one of those ales that likes to be at or near room temperature.

A prodigious amount of caramel malt is present, resulting in a 'sticky toffee pudding' flavor the likes of which I've rarely encounted. Accessory flavors include dark rum-soaked raisins and dark brown sugar-crusted bitter orange peel. What a fantastic confluence of sweet and bitter. Sweet wins handily, by the way.

Alcohol is beautifully integrated, while still providing a power and a presence that all old ales (the good ones anyway) need to have. I'm still reminded of rich, mellow dark rum, but thanks to the caramelized sugar and vanilla notes, I'm no longer scoffing at the possibility that this bottle is from one of the bourbon barrel-aged batches. Say that five times fast.

The mouthfeel is dangerously close to perfection. I've had bigger old ales and I've had sticker old ales, but I've haven't had too many that possessed this combination of size, smoothness and silkiness. This stuff is so easy to drink that I've almost drained the entire bottle when I thought I was only halfway through.

Curmudgeon is yet another outstanding beer from Michigan's best brewery (sorry Mr. Bell). There are very few beer artisans who nail each and every style like these guys do. That's why they're on my list of 'Top-10 American Craft Breweries' and will be for the foreseeable future. If you want a delicous old ale that is pretty close to the gold standard for the style, seek this one out.

 2,366 characters

Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 01/04/16

L- The beer pours reddish brown which appears more red when light is shown through it. The head is a fluffy 3 fingers of off white foam.
S-The nose if full of molasses and plum.
T- The first thing noted is the molasses and faint vanilla sweetness. The dark fruit sweetness takes over and the beer finishes with a touch of drying hop bitterness and alcohol warmth.
F-Carbonation is light despite the towering head on the initial pour. The overall mouthfeel is medium.
O- This is a fine old ale. One that I would drink over and over. Highly recommended.

 570 characters

Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a clear rich auburn color with a thinner but well sustained white head.Alcohol dipped fruit and vanilla stand out most in the nose with a hint of brown sugar,its warming at malt driven.Mouthfeel is a little sticky and a little thinner than expected,flavors are sweet up front with some cherry-like fruitiness and vanilla and the alcohol gives a little burn,there is a racey drying hop finish with is nice and balanced.A sipping brew, a nice warmer on a day like yesterday.

 492 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This is a shiny almost glazy kind of brown in color with a beautiful brown head.

Smell – The big, huge, boozy coconut and stiff oaky barrel must have left stains on the inside of my nose. The malts were broken down well so the wood and fruit really opened up nicely. It is such a unique aroma and nothing like anything else I have ever smelled.

Taste – The sharp oaky coconut from the smell was just as potent at the taste. It is an amazingly smooth liqueresque flavor with a light, dusty taste.

Mouthfeel – This is thinner than medium-bodied but bigger than light. It is incredibly smooth with no stinging sensation whatsoever from the big alcohol.

Drinkability – This went down about as well as a high-ABV beer can.

Comments – Thanks to my good friend and temporary landlord skyhand for putting me up for a few nights while I was in town and feeding me this exceptional dessert.

 914 characters

Photo of aszatk01
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Smokesnotes
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of tectactoe
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at The Oak Cafe. Pours a dense copper color with a small-ish, off-white head that leaves a bit of lacing at first but fades away about halfway through the glass. The smell is rather basic and just a tad plain, full of malts, caramels, and roasted toffee. The taste delivers a bit more than the smell would lead on - up front with a nice, malty base, a warm, toasty flavor, heavy oak on the tongue with a slight bourbon taste and burn on the back of the tongue and the sides of the mouth. About halfway through the sip, some intense sweetness arrives, in the form of tart apple, grapes, and ripe raisins. All the while, some subtle cinnamon spices are dangling around in the background. The sip ends with a light splash of floral hops and a lasting bitterness that balances out the sweetness as the flavor slowly fades away. Thick and overall pretty smooth body, medium amount of carbonation.

This beer was pretty good. Not much on the nose, but really quite a complex flavor profile ranging from warm to sweet to spicy to bitter. Not something I'd drink more than one of, but definitely worthy of trying.

 1,112 characters

Photo of ricke
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber with a small off-white head that leaves a ring of lacings.

S: The smell is malty (caramel and fudge) with notes of ripe fruit (grapes, strawberries?) vanilla and spices. It's a rather rich smell. It's good, but something seems off, like it's going downhill or something.

T: A malt-forward beer with a pleasant taste of caramel and toffee. Lots of fruity notes. The taste is sweet but balancing spicy notes level the sweetness. Here's also an interesting note of vanilla. The finish has some nice bitterness to it and notes of wood and malts.

M: Medium body with a rather creamy and slick texture.

D: A decent beer. But Old ales raise my expectations and this one didn't really meet them. There are far better examples of the style.

 750 characters

Photo of DavyJones
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%

Photo of Marklaker
4.74/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of CavemanRamblin
3.75/5  rDev -6%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,257 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe