Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
1,300 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
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:
1,300
Ratings:
4,686
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
216
Gots:
1,161
For Trade:
54
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,300 | Ratings: 4,686
Photo of mcallister
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aged in my cellar for one year wanted to see how this bad boy was doing and so far it seems to be doing very well.

Very dark caramel colored thick liquid with multitudes of tiny particles wondering aimlessly abound. What small head is there disspates nearly instantly, leaving very little trace lacing.

The nose on this has seemed to multiply in the depth of smell. Immensly complex aromas of coconut milk, coconut, bourbon, pure vanilla, pineapple, cream, caramel, toffee, a odd strawberry quick aroma, prune, layers of dried berries and nut trail mix. I really don't want to drink this as I'd be content just smelling this marvelous brew for the rest of the night.

Smooth is the name of this game. Thick, silky, viscous elixir with a two minute finish. Some bittering hops on the end make you pucker as well as a woodsy bourbony flavor that leaves a wine like tannin. I would say this beer easily has another year in her if not three. Full again of fresh chopped coconut, dried cranberry, white and red raisin, dates, prune, caramel and toffee. A celebration in a glass. Nutty mid palate with a maple brown sugar twist. Have three more of these too sample each of the next three years. Can't wait.

 1,208 characters

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

A musky glowing russet brown with a slim capping of tanned froth. Keeps a good collar with a few straggly branched arms of lace sticking across the glass.

Astounding aroma of maple, honey, oak soaked bourbon. Heavy, heavy, inviting as hell, warm whiskey tone to this sucker. Wow. Wonderful.

Smooth and warming with a good source of whiskey tones behind some maple, honey, vanilla, and white grape accents. Tenderly toasted malt background but huge in malted girth and warmth of gooey rich and thick caramel, maple, toffee, and minor fruityness all encompassed by one very nice powering warmth of whiskey oaken woodyness. No real finishing qualities however as it slides off the back end with an unwanted speed before the warmth sets in with just a slight backburst of crisp vanilla and left over whiskey wood.

Feel is warm, and more warm, and more warm. Strange how some beers with more then 9.3% seem to have no omff while this screams it. Big, bold, and beautiful; rich, smooth, and full. The only set back is the forementioned finish which is escapingly ghostly and parting in a manner that throws a curve in its overall, powering presence.

Be that as it may, that is what makes this quite a drinkable, dandy treat. For if it were all but power and strength, this would not be as easy to handle and may as well just be whiskey at that point.
A very nice Old Ale. Fulfilling and dreamy.

 1,402 characters

Photo of t2thebro
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-medium amber in color very little carbonation.

S- oak, caramel, sweet alcohol. Raisins, ripe apricot.

T- strong alcohol presence, blended with the perfect balance of sweet caramel and spicy hop bitterness.

M- medium heavy body, a bit of a syrupy feel great for this style!
Very drinkable for a big beer.

O- this is the first (old ale) I've had this is the best of what I could have expected.
Big beer, great flavor, very drinkable.

Enjoy!

 451 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one in Grafton IL with my buddy Joe V.

A - Greyish black in the glass, this one looks like liquid smoke on top of melted tar. That sounds horrid, but I love weird looking brew! This is like some sort of witches brew.

S - Burnt rubber, liquid smoke, doused campfire, and cured meat. This smells extremely interesting... when I ordered this one, I was expecting a barleywine but this is more akin to a rauchbier; albeit with less sausage and jerky notes and more chemical-y smoke aromas. This smells like old wet moldy wood, roofing tar, freshly laid asphalt on a hot summer day. Awesome. I could sniff this for hours.

T - Tobacco, cured ham, Maduro wrapped cigar smoke, some hints of soy sauce, and salmon grilled on a cedar plank. Damn, this is one helluva complex brew!

M - Full bodied, but not as heavy as I would expect for the heavy flavor profile. This is a little too carbonated for what it is, but it feels nice enough.

D - A little too odd to have more than one at a time. This is definitely a weirdo brew for sipping and picking apart all of the crazy rubbery smoke flavors, not pint after pint sessioning.

 1,132 characters

Photo of Snow81
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber, orange, unfiltered

Smell: a bit sweet malty, carmal, heat, hoppyness

Head: after first poor, head goes down to only a little ring around the glass

Taste: get a bit of heat right of the bat, hops hit right after that and moves into carmalness, stickyness then some more heat then all over and sticking around with hops

Weight: a bit on the lighter side but it is a old ale not a barleywine

Finish: this one lingers for quite some time with hops, and carmal sickyness

 494 characters

Photo of geexploitation
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and coffee colored with minimal head. Bright mahogany highlights. Assertive aroma of bourbon-vanilla and chocolate-covered bananas. Sumptuous. Hits the palate with authority. Bourbon, vanilla, bananas again, along with sweet cream and coffee all make appearances. Just a touch of hop bitterness shows up in the finish. Very thick on the palate, as one would expect. Quite rich, flavorful, interesting old ale. Up there with the best of the American microbrewed old ales.

 482 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber orange with a thin off white head.Aroma of sweet caramel malts ,honey,and some woody tones.Flavor is awesome,malty caramel,sticky honey,rasins,dates spruce, and burbon. Smooth creamy mouthfeel,a little sticky in a good way. Loads of lacing all the way down the glass,a nice warming effect. Very good

 318 characters

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smooth and thick, sweet with that barrel aged tang. Curmudgeon's aroma makes you think it's not going to be as easy drinking as it is. An old ale to end all old ales.

 166 characters

Photo of DrSpaceman
4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter. Thick head with good retention on top of beautiful clear amber. Smell is lacking in the oak, just malt. Taste is amazing, perfectly done old ale. Just the right amount of oak to bring it all together. Body is thick, and holds up strong to the 9.8% abv. I think I have found a new favorite old ale, rich and buttery perfection.

 365 characters

Photo of carlborch
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, beautiful dark amber with a tightly knit tan head. The head is reasonable persistent, but does start to dissipate. Nicely developing Belgian lace. Rich, winy nose, with hints of cognac. Caramel, toffee, sherry, and dried fruits. Very moderate, but noticeable, hoppiness, with lingering caramel and malt notes on the palate. The roof of the mouth gets a sense of the level of alcohol, however, the alcohol level is not fully evident. Thus "caveat bibor" is appropriate. This is not a session beer or a vorspiel beer. Medium body with a sweet, long lingering. This is a multidimensional old ale. If I had the patience and cellar, I would attempt to age the Old Curmudgeon a few years to see how it develops. It should age well. A great ale to accompany hearty food and BBQ. The richness and residual sweetness would also work well with spicy food.

 859 characters

Photo of fx20736
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, served at fridge temp.

turbid ochre brown with a one finger khaki head.

cinnamon & sugar overlays toasted malt, like B&M Boston Brown Bread.

mouthfeel: smooth and soft.

taste: malty sweet with honey, dates and cinnamon, atouch of vanilla and some tartness like mango chutney.

notes: damn, this is like Backwoods Dirty Bastard only better, a tasty sipper bursting with flavor and aroma, awesome.

 445 characters

Photo of mdwalsh
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark orange/copper/amber/golden color with a two finger, small bubbled head. Some active carbonation, and food lacing/head retention.

S: A good strength, not weak but not overwhelming. Very fruity and effervescent. Maybe a little hoppy, herbal if anything. I sort of hoped for a little something darker and fuller, but still good.

T: Hmm, fruity and perhaps a little boozy. Not super smooth, but it works. The hops are much more evident. Though that mellows pretty quick. It reminds me of an aged DIPA. The malt profile is very interesting. At first it really helps push the sharpness of the hops, but then, as my tongue gets more used to that bite, it becomes much much more mellow and smooth. I really like it, I think it just needs to reach the right temp. I hesitate to call it perfect, because it's my first old ale, but I may revisit this guy.

M: Smooth and creamy, but pretty light. Low carbonation which is exactly what I wanted here. This is pretty much perfect to me. Light enough to not feel flat, but giving me not the slightest indication of gasiness.

D: Very, which makes it a dangerous brew at this ABV.

 1,133 characters

Photo of slym
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer... this is something special. Just cracking the bottle, I could sense fruits, malt, & hops. Nose was the same on the pour, wth a finger-width head that dissipated to a thin film after a minute or so. The first sip... it was like Bacchus poured his best beer right in my mouth himself. The first thing that hit me was dark fruits, fig & plum and dark berry. Then, vanilla and molasses rush up on the palate, with the whole thing finishing with both malty sweetness and a slight hoppy bite.

This beer is amazing... truly a well-crafted and nicely balanced (for a sweeter beer) beer.

A must-buy!

 604 characters

Photo of ken3c
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a decent sized head but dwindles to a 1/4 inch island. Beautifull deep dark red tint refracts on the glass and on the table. This beer has legs and visible tiny bubbles.

Aroma is mostly roasted almond but also a slight sense of melon.

Taste is ripe cantalope with ripe bananas. The finish is oak tannin bitterness.

Mouthfeel is quite dry and plays interestingly with the strong sweet taste. There is a noticable sense of carbonation but not intrusive. smooth but not too smooth. warming.

This is a delightful suprise. This is a very tasty brew.

 562 characters

Photo of Buebie
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtasy of Philbe311

Poured from a brown stuby 12 oz bottle into a pub glass. The beer is a super hazy unfilteres little delight. The color is a darker copper, no transparency here. Produceing about an inch of tan whipped topping head.
Slowly reduceing to leave a thin cap of retention and lace rings all the way down.
All the old ale's I've ever had were quite a bit darker then this. I brewed one not to long ago and added black triacle. So to say this does not look like an old ale is kind of an understatement.

It smells like an old ale though...
Soaked whiskey barrel aroma, with an aged leathery aroma too. Huge amounts of malt here, with sweetness to back, unfermented honey, damn, the malts are just so pungeant and delicious smelling. Sourdough bread, butter, some grassy hops with a touch of pine in the distance.

The taste is probably one of the most candy laced malty beers I've come across in a long long time. The malts do a dance on my tounge, hops are present, the hops are not so much fruity, but more of a dry bittering, with plenty of aroma hops coming into effect with the first sip.
That whiskey and oak is also adding some deliciousness to the flavors. Each flavor not overwhelming the other flavors. This is an extremely well balanced brew.
More sourdough breadyness, butter, caramel, lots of hops kicking it up into the swallow, and malt just overwhelming me with joy through it all.
Finishing bitter and yet sweet. Hops linger as does the malt and some of its sweetness. Its a battle of flavors to the end. Each flavor coming out boldly but allowing me to taste all of them and they all linger this way after the swallow.
No hot flavors here, just a slight bit of warmth into the swallow.

It would better fit the Strong ale catagory, but what can you do. I feel like it was mislabled for the style, but its still fantastic. I'm rateing it for what I thought of it overall, not on style. If I were to rate it on style, I'd have to deduct alot of points. But this beer is too good to do that.

This beer is dangerous crazy awsome good!

 2,074 characters

Photo of fitrock2112
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured Curmudgeon Old Ale into a 9oz snifter

A - Dark reddish hue or burnt orange

S - Candied fruit with sweet booze, some malty goodness on the back end

T - Smooth refined maltiness, some dark fruits , maybe some liquor with wood

M - Again smooth beer with a little alcohol on the mouth but very tasty

O - My go to Old Ale, just awesome beer that I highly recommend on any occasion

 388 characters

Photo of blodgetm
4.54/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders is one of the few things that makes me glad to live in Grand Rapids. The brewery is absolutely fantastic, and for producing such great beers as this I give them two thumbs up. The brewers at Founders have been working on this brew for a couple years now, finely tweaking it until absolutely perfect to put into a bottle. Well, here it is, Curmudgeon old ale is definately the result of years of planning and tinkering.

A: medium brown and unfiltered

S: definite sweetness to the nose due to the malt bill, but also presence of bourbon and a spice of oak

T: a very complex and malty brew, with high levels of whiskey/bourbon taste and a small amount of maybe anise towards the end

M: wonderful, nice and rich, heavy bodied beer with a fine carbonation

D: I would drink this brew all night if I could, but with the high ABV and price, it gets alittle hard.

I would recommend this beer to anyone who fancies high gravity beer with that fantastic bourbon creme taste

 991 characters

Photo of puboflyons
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

 682 characters

Photo of Givemebeer
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled upon Curmudgeon just today though it is out of season so was happy to pay $13 for a 4 pack as everything Founders seems to be a winner

Curmudgeon is a great starter old ale in my opinion. Beautiful look and well balanced. Love the malt in it but the beauty is the hops showing themselves towards the end just enough so that you know they're there. Not overly sweet and simply delicious.

If you see it, buy it. Another winner from Founders. I will be purchasing this again.

 483 characters

Photo of elNopalero
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 4/19/12.

This pours a ruddy copper the color of an old tarnished penny with light large bubbling atop.

As it warms there's an aroma of toffee, candied orange, a hint of tobacco and leather, and hop aroma. It’s died down after 2 years but there's still a bit of a pronounced bitterness on the palate. I taste candied orange, tobacco, malty caramel and toffee, and a hint of something nutty on the finish. Tasty.

 428 characters

Photo of sjones5045
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Well, hard to describe how it pour other than a dark reddish brown with sub avg head. If you are drinking on tap it pours very clean, an extremely fresh bottle will have tiny sediment and a bottle that in your fridge for a month or so will have thick sediment and if not poured carefully will leave you with snot looking sediment floating at the top. Had to scoop out the snot on the drink I'm reviewing.

Smell is a sweet malty nose. I personally enjoy it cause its so different than most other beers out there. I enjoy the fresh hoppy smell of other beer but this is the antitisis of that which provide a complete different experience than most beers.

So the taste is a home run. About as malty as they come. Some sweetness breaks through as well as some fruit that reminds me a little of a scotch ale.

I would not say smooth but its an enjoyable bit with each sip. Once again a completely different experience than most beers which I enjoy the creativity.

Overall, the best old ale that I've tried. It's an underapprecited and under brewed class of beer in my opinion. This is perhaps the top of the class when it comes to old ales, and definitely worth having around when you want a break for a hoppy beer.

 1,214 characters

Photo of Beertracker
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Founders Curmudgeon is best served at cellar temperatures (45-50F) in a "bubble-type" glass or a large brandy snifter. This potent elixir pours up smart & simple with just the perfect amount of carbonation. The gorgeously, inviting chestnut-ruby brown body is capped nicely with a small, persistent, cream colored head. This beauty even shows a bit of leg. The big, sweet caramel (e.g. caramel apple, toffee bits/molasses chips, muscovado sugar) aroma is wonderfully complex with hints of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Frangelico & Madeira. The flavor starts off luciously rich & somewhat chewy with lots of burnt caramel, toasted nuttiness and dried fruit. The bitterness never quite seems to catch-up to the huge maltiness, but the warming alcohol plays nicely into the whiskey laced finish. This medium-full bodied old ale is smooth & creamy with a straight-forward complexity that will bring color to any occasion. This is another finely crafted brew from Founders. Here's to the crusty "ill-tempered' Curmudgeon!

CHEERS! Beertracker

 1,037 characters

Photo of MikeyMikee
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first old ale, I'm pretty excited.

12oz. bottle poured into an Ithaca Sampling glass, poured at fridge temp.

A- Hazy copper color, with a small quickly dissipating head. Descent lacing.

S- Heavy caramel and molasses, slight orange rind and maybe a little bit of tart cherry.

T- Honey up front with some caramel, brown sugar and toffee. Theres an earthy, woodyness as well which is awesome. Some clean citrus hops that nicely integrates itself and is then cut by slight ethanol in the finish.

M- Awesome! Great Carbonation, viscous, chewy, sticky...its really all around awesome. There's a little bitterness as well which balances it out and there is also some warming from the alcohol.

O- Really great beer, especially the rich mouthfeel. The hop-malt balance is near perfect. The only problem is I drank it way too fast, I could easily drink a few of these in a single night. Definitely worth seeking out.

 923 characters

Photo of dbl_delta
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Liked this from the bottle; love this on tap (Holy Hound Taproom, York PA into snifter). Pours a gorgeous clear, deep amber with a modest light tan head. Rich, full-bodied, sweet, chewy but not syrupy - a little bitterness but predominantly molasses. Alcohol definitely makes its presence known, but complements the flavors rather than detracting from them. Nice sweet aftertaste. One of my top ten beers of ANY style.

 423 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a almost clear coppery-brown color with a light tan head. Very little retention save a slight ring. No lace.
Smell is oak and malt with a light smoke note and some dark, alcohol soaked fruits.
Taste is malt, oak and smoke, with caramel and dark fruits. Well balanced.
Smooth and rich. Full bodied with a medium-light effervescence. This old ale is unlike most in that it doesn't need to warm to be great, it starts there. Warming does make it a touch smoother but not enough to make you want to wait. A truly great brew.

 527 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,686 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe