Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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very good
1,291 Reviews
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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

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:
1,291
Ratings:
4,664
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
213
Gots:
1,159
For Trade:
54
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,291 | Ratings: 4,664
Photo of kingmaker
4.71/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Magohany through and through with a khaki head which dissipates to a thin crown around the glass with some remaining to cover the exposed beer as a thin sheen

S: WOW. This is what I expect of an old ale. Sweet malts, hops, some caramel, the alcohol is completely absent. There's oak but honestly I'd probably miss it in between the malt and hop if I didn't know oak's intricacies.

T: The malt overtakes the hops by far. Rich malts followed by the oak and quickly behind that is the molasses, giving almost a toffee flavor. Again, no alcohol, even subtlety.

M: Medium, bordering on full with good carbonation. Very smooth and lingers on the tongue well after its gone.

O: I'm going to have to hide the other 3 bottles before I drink them warm. This was a great beer, highly complex with the addition of the oak. I'm disappointed that I let this one slip into the fold when I was the the NYC craft beerfest a couple weeks ago and instead focused solely on the KBS so much so that the server knew my name. This beer is an understated powerhouse.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting comparing to earlier reviews. I have very little to add.
There is a prominent nose of fruit/malt with hints of wood and aging. Raisins and a touch of alcohol. Warming, and robust as you move through the bottle. An excellent winter warmer. As noted by others the classic modest carbonation of Founder's brews appears again. Fortunastely, for me this what I love any time of year. To me contrary opinions suggest this would say that I wouldn't want another glass of a full cab, or that I wouldn't be having a vintage port in the summer. Folks, this is an awesome sipping beer for any time. I agree with previous reviewer that I will age a few. For those who enjoy a full, warming sipper to enjoy as you relax at end of day...rush to purchase!

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Photo of Zippie9999
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

S: Bottle from a 4 pack purchased at Table and Vine in W. Springfield, MA. (Damn, CT limited beer availability!)
A: Pours a reddish, brown, orange color w/ nice foamy head retention.
S: Sweet, molasses, vanilla, with almost a red-wine quality to it.
T: Sweet, bready, with traces of molasses, burnt sugar, and subtle vanilla.
M: Nice full, and frothy.
D: Phenomenal. A great beer that hides the fact that it's 9.3% Be careful, the ABV on this sucka will sneak up on you and kick you in the ass!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.69/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Why, oh, why has it taken me so long to grab one of these? Heaven knows I've been eying it up long time, coveting it. (sigh) I gotta get a 4-pack of this ole shit.

Pale tawny hue, rich glow, with plenty specks of sediment. That's fine. 1/8" head - gone quick.

Damn wonderful aroma - toffee, caramel, and toasty crystal malt - rich, dense maltiness - with a sweet liqueur booziness pushing it all up into my noseholes, lathering my brain.

Sometimes old ales do, but this doesn't immediately recall a barleywine. Strong British pale all the way. Toffee, booze, sweet dessert wine (not vinous/red/port) highlight the flavors. Assertively malt forward, which is great. And this is the kind of barrel-conditioning I can get behind - the faint essence of oak lingers throughout. Bourbon, be gone!

I don't taste the molasses they mention having included, but it could have certainly contributed to the mouthfeel. Speaking of which, while sporting a micro drop of dry, musty oxidation, is nearly silky smooth, falling quite short of syrupy. Goddamn does it massage the palate while conjuring one of the most soothing warming feelings I've been treated to. The booze is softened expertly by the malt and semi-viscous body. They balanced the shit out of this ale. A winner!

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Photo of HoodviewBrew
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours dark amber with a thin head. I agree with another reviewer, "The aroma is very like bourbon - very sweet, with vanilla, brown sugar and then notes of oatmeal, ginger, clove, and black tea." The flavor is strong in fruit with raisins, cherries, and molasses that gives it a delightful bitterness. The alcohol and bourbon flavors resonate from start to finish with that great old ale sourness. Great beer- one of, if not the best, of the Founders series.

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Photo of JWU
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into my .4L mug.

A- A deep, cloudy amber with hints of orange. Thin white head that retains well.

S- Deep carmel malts, with an almost fruity character

T- Certainly the best part of this brew. Deep maltiness, the sweetness of the molasses is a fantastic flavor mid-sip, hints of chocolate around this point as well. Hops are absolutely perfectly balanced. Gets a bit boozy on the back end and finishes quite like a good whiskey, with oaky notes.

M- much heavier in the mouth than the appearance would suggest, but I really enjoy that part about this brew.

Overall, my favorite "old ale" because the complexities in the taste aren't overrun by the hops, or even by the bitterness (which Founders can do on certain brews) Top notch brew.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I perused the frequently aforementioned Neil St. Piccadilly, I wondered aloud to the great manager JD if I had ever tried Curmudgeon Ale, feeling that I had yet somehow not remembering it. "Old Ale with dense raisin and caramel; delicious" was his immediate response. It suddenly dawned on me that I probably had NOT tried it, that although I had seen it so many times with the other great Founders beers displayed, I might simply have thought I had tried it from having seen it so frequently--that sight memory imbricated memory of (not) tasting it.

It came home, it saw my Duvel tulip, and it conquered my palate. Holy wow.

Thin finger of slightly tan foam atop a cloudy brown body; decent lacing, however. Dense nose, rife with raisin and fig, and tons of caramel with a hint of dark chocolate. Splendid.

I cannot rave enough about the taste--reminiscent of barleywine. It has that aged, vaguely musty aroma, ample caramelized sugars that scream boozy rum, but plenty of smooth caramel malt, dried fruit that blends impeccably--at times standing out and at times receding, plus a hint of berry in the finish. Brilliant.

The mouthfeel is a great combination of smooth and rough textures, occasionally funky, bitter, and a little gritty but overall very accessible and smooth. For the style and ABV (9.3%), this is more than a sipper, to me--though it unquestionably packs a punch.

My goodness, I am not sure whether to kick myself for going this long without having tried it, or to be grateful for my having snagged it and embedded it within, rather than presuming its place in, my memory. Just fabulous. Yet again, Founders has justified its ensconced place within my top five breweries around and, with all due respect to the tremendous Bell's, assumed its place in my mind as the best brewery in Michigan. Curmudgeon Ale is truly special, and I am on my way to nailing a couple four-packs for the fridge and the cellar.

A grand achievement.

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Photo of MD03
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorites from Founders which is saying a lot. Complex sweet, oaky flavors that make it really drinkable for something with this high of an abv

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Photo of ypsifly
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated 12oz stubby purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a pint glass.

Dark crimson under two plus fingers of light tan. Has a falling effect much like Guinness. The head falls to a cm of foam in a couple minutes but it clings tenaciously to the glass and leaves a wispy sheet.

The nose has more wood than any beer I have ever sniffed. Fresh oak with some sweet malt and yeast aromas simillar to Anchor Old Foghorn. Some earth, spice and warmth from the abv in the background. Very interesting.

Full mouth that is a bit slick upfront but washes away clean.

Just like the nose, this has a strong wood flavor with caramel and spicy hops along for the ride. The alcohol comes across as a well integrated pepper yet it doesn't get hot. Some suggestion of scotch or maybe bourbon and a lingering wood and green hop finish. Unique and veryb tasty!

I could see this being a love it or hate it beer. I happen to love it and am glad I picked up a couple four packs.

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Photo of Fugazme
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Redhaze!

from notes... I'm finally catching up on these!

Very cloudy brown... tiny head falls to a great cap... looks "thick"

Sweet, sweet licorice/anise with a pine-scented nose... grassy... strawberry... maple... vanilla... touch of wood... quite complex and wonderful. One of the best noses on a beer.

Mouthfeel is thick and almost oily... in a good way.

Malty upfront on the taste... sweet, licorice... honey with a mild hop character.

Another great one from a great brewery...

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Photo of TheRealBigC
4.64/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was an instant favorite. Almost like a cognac - heavy vanilla and alcohol flavor, but there's more depth than that. A bit of oak and cinnamon, for instance, linger somewhere in there. The bar served it in a rocks glass which was disappointing as a snifter would have been perfect for this ale. I got plenty of enjoyment in the smell as it was, but a snifter likely would have made it even better. I really have to look into more old ales because if they are anything like Curmudgeon, it's a style perfectly tailored to my tastes.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip; translucent orange red with a moderate white head that fades quickly into a nice layer of foam with a bubble ring.
Smells of nutty sweet malt, raisins, sweet bread, chocolate, molasses, oak, light bourbon, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla.
Taste is soft sweet bread malt, barrel character of oak, bourbon, and vanilla...molasses, brown sugar and some earthy hops ghosting in at the end.
Mouthfeel is smooth and thick and sticky.
Overall, very nice brew as I'd expect from Founders. Malty, los of barrel character, and you'd never know it's 9.8%.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

3-4 year old bottle, not much head or lacing. Muddy, tudor brown body. Aroma includes brown sugar, raisin, date, vanilla. Taste includes all of these flavors and a slight hint of alcohol heat. Delicious in every way, one of the best old ales I've had.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: amber colored beer with a half finger of white head that leaves a nice film and little lacing as you drink
S: vanilla oak aromas with the irony molasses characteristic
T: vanilla, oak, irony molasses, and faint hops, appropriate alcohol presence, dark fruit.... good stuff
F: Nice and smooth, not under-carbonated or anything but creamy and easy going
O: Delicious. Love the label love the name love the beer. Really straight forward like a true curmudgeon should be.

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Photo of lwillitz
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12-oz bottle into New Belgium globe

A - thin khaki head over a cloudy body of deep orange/copper, residue suspended throughout

S - wood, dark fruits, caramel sweetness, touch of alcohol

T - wood, dark fruits, caramel/molasses sweetness, booze in the finish with a touch of grassy bitterness

M - thick full body, low/medium carbonation, smooth and syrupy

O - Curmudgeon is an excellent ale! Smell and taste are complex and delicious. Feel is big and smooth. Definitely worth a try if you like your beers big and malty.

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Photo of Jraiona
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 1/4/16 poured into a Nonic pint. The color was a beautiful red/Amber with about 1 finger of well retained head and good lacing. The nose was permeated with a nice blend of malt and molasses both of which were prevalent on the palate. As I noted in many of my reviews I'm not a big fan of very hop forward/bitter beers. To me this achieved a very nice level of hopiness without being overly assertive while at the same time in had a nice blend of sweetness from the malt that created a wonderful balance. A definite winner in my book.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

it snowed today so it's a great reason to tap into a Curmudgeon! Love old ales!

A- curmudgeon pours a fantastic rich copper color with some unexpected lacing on the sides of the glass. The brew glows with the ruby highlights across the glass

S- Get down!!!! It's a MALT BOMB! Sweet sugar from the molasses no doubt pops up along with massive caramel flavors. Brown sugar type theme arises as well. Great whiff of flavor for an old ale

T- WHERE IS THE ALCOHOL??? Unbelievable smooth flavors that consist of the aforementioned sugar and caramel are all over. Some dark raisin and bready flavors tie up the taste profile. This may be the most flavorful old ale I have ever had

M- carbonation and coating of flavor is in a perfect unison. The brew is well crafted to finish well

O- well there is a reason founders is who they are... curmudgeon is an unbelievable brew. Again it is so smooth and lively with flavor that you almost feel like you are drinking a rich amber ale. Unbelievable....

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Photo of tmm313
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled: 2/15/13
Drank: 2/11/14

A- Dark reddish, brownish amber in the glass. Poured a gorgeous creamy 2 finger head. Awesome sticky lacing. Some floaties in there as well.

S- Extremely inviting. Rich caramel and molasses, raisins, woodsy oak, vanilla, bourbon, and a little bit of pine on the back end.

T- Very nice. Big caramel, molasses, and dark fruit up front, giving way to slight bourbon, oak, pine, a touch of vanilla, and earthy hop spice. Super subtle alcohol burn and citrus rind on the finish.

M- Lighter side of thick body. Creamy and smooth. Slightly drying with a very nice aftertaste.

O- Don't you just love it when you drink a beer not expecting to like it, but walk away with a new favorite? I. Loved. This. Beer. Super balance, huge decadent flavors, and awesome complexity. I will be buying a sixer as soon as humanly possible.

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Photo of nortmand
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper pour with a thin off white head.

Resiny hops and whisky dominate the nose.

Sweet through midtongue, ends with a lingering bitter kick and an alcohol burn.

Fantastic old ale, smooth and light carbonation, strange release date, though. Would age nicely.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Aged almost a year, this copper bodied old ale has a very thin head and an extra thick nose. Smells delicious, slightly malty with tons of caramel, molasses obviously. Full bodied and really goes down smooth, nice sweetness to it.

This to me is an almost perfect winter beer. Nice warming, smooth on the pallet... A+

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
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 CampusCrew
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

appearance: poured with low carbonation but had great rentention and lacing. a caramel dark brown complexion.

smell: lots of caramel malt, like a sweet pie, molasses, some goosberry

taste: hefty malted ale with a great hop presence. very balanced for style. lots of caramel flavor and a touch of sweetness but not to much. drinks like a minced meat pie. bring untensils.

mouthfeel: full bodied, chewy

drinkability: great winter warmer beer, enjoyed as usual with founders.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another excellent beer from Founders. Just a slight notch below CBS, KBS and Breakfast Stout but still a superb beer. Wonderful flavor and very drink able.

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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.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders continues to impress me. This beer is amazing. Pours to a nice dark brownish amber, almost black. The head is off-white, and fairly thin. Recedes to a ring and a film, as to be expected from a high gravity old ale.

The smell is awesome. Very complex. Has notes of bourbon, sea salt, black anise, and a nice sweet maltiness.

The flavor is just as great. Starts off with a nice sweet molasses flavor, followed by a brilliant vanilla and oak bourbon flavor. A bit briny, with a sea salt flavor; but unlike other briny old ales I've had, this one doesn't taste the least bit spoiled. None of that soy sauce flavor associated with brininess. Simply amazing

The body is fairly full. Starts off with an intense sweetness but drops off with an intense dry sea salty flavor. Surprisingly little aftertaste. Nonetheless, if I put this beer down for too long, I begin to crave it.

It could stand to be a little more drinkable, but that would probably take away from the wonder that is this beer. Founders is quickly becoming one of my favorite brewers.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,664 ratings.
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