Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
1,289 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:
1,289
Ratings:
4,661
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
212
Gots:
1,158
For Trade:
54
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,289 | Ratings: 4,661
Photo of Florida9
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap @ Durty Nellies

A: Served in a snifter with about a finger of off-white head that leaves a nice bit of lacing. Deep brown in color, but still very translucent.

S: Beautifully aromatic. Scent of oak and vanilla. Quite boozy with a little sweetness. Reminiscent of bourbon barrel aged beers.

T: Interesting. Starts off sweet and alcoholic with a little tannin and a little vanilla on the tongue as well as the flavor of lightly brewed tea. However, the flavor drops off quickly and the finish is incredibly short for this style of beer.

M: Surprisingly thin. Medium carbonation.

D: Very good, but probably shouldn't be. I was expecting a much more complex, heavy-hitting style of beer with this one and what I got was a very good, but shallow and thin old ale.

 773 characters

Photo of hardy008
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with no head. Smell is of sweet caramel malt, a variety of fruit, and a whiff of alcohol. This is a sweet beer with noticeable alcohol, and hop bitterness which makes this one nicely balanced. Can taste pears and dark fruits. Medium to full bodied, well carbonated. The drinkability is good, but the alcohol is more noticeable than I would like. This is still a good beer which I would buy again.

 417 characters

Photo of ivehadthatbrew
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look (3.75): Slight haze to it with an amber brownish and ruby hue. Not a massive carbonation to it. Small sticky head.

Smell (3.5): An oaky and maple syrup like kind of aroma. Some floral notes, maybe a bitter like coffee smell, but neither are intense. Some vanilla and coconut from the wood.

Taste (3.75): Again, a ton of oakiness everywhere. At first you're hit with big caramel malty flavors. There are big bready and perhaps cherry notes in there, but not estery fruit ones. Some slight bitterness and black pepper spice at the end. Some vanilla and coconut from the wood.

Mouthfeel (4.5): This is the best part. I'm fairly certain the oak used in this is lightly toasted American Oak. You get those classic coconut and vanilla smells out of it. This also gives it a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel as it warms up. Very nice =)

Overall (4): This seems like a cool brew that would get pretty interesting as it ages. I'll have to experience with it more that way.

 972 characters

Photo of bonk0076
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish amber color, hazy, with a moderate head. Aroma is of hops, with citrus and fruity notes as well as molasses. Taste is very sweet - molasses and caramel, with a slight hint of pine. Fills the mouth with a full flavor. But offers a quick finish.

 260 characters

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 Spider889
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to msulinski for this bottle. Not sure why I've never seen this in OH (sent to me from PA, and I saw it while in Chicago last month).

Live review.

First thing I noticed was that the cap pried off too easily. Wait, is that glue gunk around the lip of the bottle? No... huh? Screw-off... seriously? Is this old, or old habit for this beer? A Founders first for me, at least.

My second notion is that there's very little carbonation going on here. With a tall pour it get a slow-to-rise head of cream colored bubbles that dissipate much more quickly than they appeared. The beer itself is a hazy copper color in my snifter. Looks like this one will be leaving some splotchy residuals but no real lace to speak of...

The third and most prominent thing I noticed (upon pouring) was the smell - thick and sweet bourbon. Ahh, Founders, your barrel-aging program is predictably recognizable, and yet about as good as it possibly gets. I am immediately reminded of Backwoods Bastard. Vanilla, lots of oak, sweet but not alcoholic bourbon notes are most predominant. The malt is also very apparent - more so than in Backwoods Bastard (which I cannot help but continually compare each aspect of this beer to now). Light chocolate and maple waft in and out along with sweet pipe smoke.

The flavor is also similar to Backwoods, but not entirely the same. Curmudgeon is frankly not as potent, and therefor, not as inviting for me. Still, plenty of flavor going on here. The bourbon is the front-runner - as in Backwoods, Curmudgeon has a flavor profile built around the barrel aging rather than the reverse. Sweet toffee and vanilla play with boozy bourbon. This is also much more bitter than I would have expected. Very smooth, but with a bite on the swallow.

The mouthfeel is smooth - too smooth. This beer borders on flat, which takes an appropriately low carbonation level for this style too far imo. Very dry as well.

I like this, but then, it's hard not to enjoy anything Founders puts into their barrels. But as stated numerous times in this review, Curmudgeon is very similar to Backwoods Bastard. So much so, that I would be happy to take a Backwoods over this any and every time. Good beer, but not great. But hey, Founders has that covered. ;-)

 2,255 characters

Photo of marcobrau
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Curmudgeon pours a very hazy light brown color without much foam, but enough of a head that settles to a nice collar. The aroma is intoxicating (alcoholic) with a dusty sort of caramel-toffee character. This is a fairly tasty Old Ale for sure, albeit a very intoxicating one. It has the sugary sweet caramel notes that I like in an old ale, along with an interesting bourbon character, but could use some more fruitiness and not as much alcohol coming through. Perhaps this brew just needs some more aging. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and quite good, although the body is a touch thin. A highly alcoholic Old Ale for sure, but still good. One at a time is probably a good idea.

Thanks go to RedBaron for the bottle.

 718 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle from Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn Heights, MI, in March 2008 for $3.99. That's a pricy one!

Pours a moderately cloudy brown with minimal head, only a thin whisp after a few minutes.

Aromas of dark fruits (cherries, figs and dates come to mind), dark bread malts, and heavily varnished wood.

Flavor includes the heavy, rich malts and moderately sweet dark fruits. A strong fusel alcohol burn doesn't so much go down my throat as evaporated up my sinuses. Heavy syrupy mouthfeel makes this a sipper, one to enjoy slowly.

Tasty, enjoyable, a good version of the style. And since I want to be a curmudgeon some day, this is a good one to get used to! Seriously, a little to strong and rich for me, a decent once in a while beer, maybe in smaller than 12 ounce servings.

 789 characters

Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

time for a new review, new review with a bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, NC, old one performed mid-2006 with a bottle from dirtylou follows

a: head is very light but that's expected here, the beer is a darker orange-brown in color

s: boozy and bourbon-esque caramel malts make up the grain body here, sweet dried dates soaked in booze, oak vanilla despite no barrel aging, vanilla confections, concentrated white fig juice, a touch spicy, hops low, quite nice, huge alcohol presence the only issue

m: low carbonation and full body, has the makings of a good mouthfeel but is a little dull and unimpressive

t: caramel malts with a gentle nutty toffee note towards the finish, boozy with a touch of bourbony oak at the end as a medium bitterness creeps in, moderately sweet, a little restrained for my tastes (put plainly, on the bland side) but well-rounded

d: a little hot but that's not really much of a detractor given the style, pretty easy

appearance: The pour into my snifter gives a low tan head that soon becomes nothing but a very thin ring around the glass. The beer is a deep, reddish brown in color.
smell: grainy caramel malt sweetness at the head...a little woody. A touch of cola and milk chocolate. Dried figs and dates. Light hop aroma.
mouthfeel: The carbonation is low and gentle, and the body full
taste: moderate sweetness, lightly nutty malt character upfront...clean and without a ton of complexity but still tasty. Some milk chocolate after the swallow. Dark fruits, maybe some dates. Not as rich in flavor as I had hoped, but pretty good nonetheless. Light to moderate hop flavor with a medium bitterness and a touch of ethanol.
drinkability: Alcohol light, and a good beer that could use some character
Shipped from dirtylou sometime last spring and cellared since.
a4/s4/m4/t3.5/d4

 1,824 characters

Photo of Brent
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm never clear on where the line is drawn between an old ale and a barleywine - this beer could happily land in either category. Body is a bit syrupy, redolent with dark, aged fruit flavors - prune most apparentl A boozy edge is a slight detraction. Finish is smooth with a lasting caramel note.

 296 characters

Photo of tzieser
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Got this on tap @ sunset grill and tap in Brighton.

Poured a deep dark brown with a very small head that simmered into almost no lacing

Smelled extremely malty and oak-y. Extreme malt smells, with some hints of alcohol. Hops are practically non-existent

Tastes great. I don't have much experience with Old Ales (save for Ola Dubh), but I'd imagine they would taste very similar to this. Very, very malty...probably caramal malts that have turned into a very unique taste with age....very very woody, oak-y taste dominates the pallate. No hops here. I liked the old flavor very much. It tastes musty-- like an old attic would smell like (if you could imagine). The 10% abv is well-hidden by the way

Mouthfeel was good, a little oily, but I'd imagine thats what the style is supposed to be

drinkability is pretty bad. the beer tastes great, i just could'nt imagine coming back for more....especially at 8.99 a 13ouncer

Overall- I was gonna get this, but at 15 bucks a 4 pack-- I backed off. I had to get it when I saw it on tap. I'd say definitely get it if you see it on tap, but don't bother getting a 4 pack....unless you love old ales...

 1,145 characters

Photo of Etan
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stout glass.

A: Pours a murky caramel color with a nice tuft of egg-shell foam. Good retention and lacing.

S: Tangerine, molasses, caramel, green grape skin, woody spice.

T: Huge sweet molasses, tangerine, big coconut and mild vanilla, brown sugar, sweet hop resin, ripe grapes, solvent alcohol, brown bread, a bit of burnt grain and pleasantly warming alcohol on the end. Sweet molasses and oak lingers.

M: Soft, almost light-bodied. Bit of creaminess from the carbonation.

O: Very sweet from the molasses, almost overly so. Pretty decent.

 578 characters

Photo of alcstradamus
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky copper color, hard pour yields not much more than a quarter inch of quickly receding head.

Smell is caramel with deep wood and alcohol notes. Floral hops are quite pungent as well.

Taste starts off with some nice caramel malts and oak, but a little bit of mustiness creeps in and prevents the flavor from really shining to its true potential. Lots of bitter pine hops on the back end. Tastes sort of like an aged american barleywine, the musty aspect is the only real negative.

Medium bodied, some alcohol burn in the finish. Perhaps needs some time, I was surprised at hotness of this one.

Nice beer, the alcohol heat is the downfall in terms of drinkability though. Worth buying maybe once a year, but I wouldn't want it much more than that.

 761 characters

Photo of crossovert
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Bottled 2/10/10.

Pours into my snifter a beautiful clear reddish orange with a creamy ivory head that lasts for a good amount of time before slowly receding and leaving some nice lacing.

The smell is luscoius. There is tons of caramel and butterscotch. It is also earthy with a touch of hops. There is also a stark dark fruit scent. It is a very luxurious looking and smelling beer.

The taste isn't as good as the other two but it is very good. It is alot more bitter than expected with a nice hop bite. The malt is here too and it is almost cloyingly sweet. There is an abundance of caramel on the palate.

The mouthfeel is thick but has a nice, smooth carbonation, it is slightly cloying but not overly form the sugar and alcohol.

The alcohol in this one isn't perfectly hidden but it works well and makes this one feel like a strong barleywine going down.

Overall it is one beautiful looking and beautifully scented brew, the taste is good but not spectacular.

 983 characters

Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark amber color with slight ruby accents and a small tan head on it that quickly dissipated into nothing and left no lacing. The smell is dominant of dark fruits (plums and raisins) and caramel malt. I consider this a "malty" nose, and I like it on this cool fall evening. The flavor profile hits heavy with all of the caramel malt in the nose coming full force on the palate with other flavors or dark fruit, banana, and a spot of sweet molasses, but the alcohol in this offering also comes through in the flavor profile. The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation and a good shot of warming alcohol is present. The drinkability is very good on this beer, and I could have easily drank another one.

Another great beer from Founders.

 763 characters

Photo of kmeves
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy copper/brown with a small beige head. Aroma is sweet raisin, caramel, cherry, nutty, light chocolate, smoke, butterscotch andwood. Flavor is cherry, caramel, raisin, light pineapple and light nutty. Finish is a bit hot and also has some bourbon notes. Full bodied, sticky texture. Low carbonation.

 312 characters

Photo of Jayli
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a cloudy mahogany. Very small tan head even with a rigorous pour. Not much lacing to speak of. The nose is VERY rich. There are amber malts, dark fruits (most notably black cherries), vanilla, and some very mild piney hops. Taste begins with piney hops, more than the nose hinted at. It's followed by raisiny-sweet amber malts and a touch of whiskey/bourbon in the finish. The mouthfeel is smooth, with a very rich and full bodied, very light on the carbonation...I would have liked a bit more carbonation though. Alcohol is present, it definitely warms you on the way down. This is a pretty intense beer - first that I have had of this style. Can't say that I could drink a lot of these, but was nice for a night when you're in the mood to kick back and enjoy a beer.

 784 characters

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Curmudgeon has a brownish-red body and a finger or so of tan head that has good retention and minimal lacing.

Tons of malt in the nose with a lot of warmth as well.

The two words that describe Curmudgeon best are definitely sweet and boozy. A touch of hops comes through with some earthy flavors and a punch of citrus as well as a bit of bitterness, but it's all malt after that. Big notes of molasses mix with caramel and toffee. All three are well represented here and combine to give the beer a flavor that is something like pudding. Dark fruits come next, and they taste as if they were soaked in booze. A little bit of powdery cocoa dries things out a bit, as well as a spicy oak flavor, but mostly this one is all sweet and heat. The finish is quite hot actually.

Hot on the tongue, with a body that is a touch thinner than I would expect, but still solid.

Curmudgeon is somewhere between Old Ale and Barleywine, and although it is drinkable, the nearly 10%ABV is unsurprising.

 987 characters

Photo of pootz
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Something special for a great warmer on this cold October evening.

Poured an opaque dark brown ale in the glass with a 1 finger tan cap that reduced to a surface clinging lace .

Aromas of dark dried fruits, mustiness oak barreld whisky.

Thick malt spine, oily mouth feel, rich complex boozy character.

Up front you chew on some thick date muffins then a rush of complex layered flavors: raisins, vanilla with coconut, white chocolate, cherries in brandy over the smokey oak -earthy musty tones...finishes up long and wet where the hops attack the complexity and the alcohol shows up, the result is near an oak barreld burbon flavor in the finish.

This ale delivers quite a lot of strength and flavor and comes off like a burbon whisky flavored barley wine....very nicely done.

My sample was fairly young but I bet some time in the cellar would really mellow this and bring out even more complexity

 916 characters

Photo of jamie2dope
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Grabbed a single of this in Cambridge. This will be my second time trying this brew, but the first as far as trying it from the bottle. Poured into my Stella glass a ruby color, with a small white heading. Smell is dominated by raisin, maple syrup, molasses and a bit of caramel. Taste is right along the same lines, with the maple syrup and raisins shining the most...is very sweet and sugary. Body is full and isn't afraid to throw its weight around with the alcohol. It is there and you will know it after a bottle. Great beer, but the intense flavors and in your face alcohol make it a difficult beer to drink. Reminds me a little bit of North Coast's Old Ale, which is also quite enjoyable. A beer to sit down and take your time with. Cheers

 746 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this brew recently from Bobby91w, kryptic, and joe1510...thanks guys!!

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a murky deep copper hue with a one finger off-white head that falls to a thin creamy layer of foam. A decent amount of lacing remains clinging the sides of the glass. Smells of rich caramel malts, molasses, and alcohol warm the nostrils. Sweet spices and earthy hops in the nose as well as fig and prunes. Taste begins and ends quite boozy. Rum, dates, leather, and gooey caramel to start things off in the mouth followed by tingling hops. Toffee and bark flavors emerge midway finishing with a lingering vanilla bean sweetness. Medium body with a prickly feel on the cheeks. A tad above average carbonation for the style, could be a bit smoother. I'd take 4th Dementia over this in a heartbeat, but who wouldn't?

 831 characters

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008. Poured from a short 12oz bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip glass. Pours a light golden color but fills the glass on the reddish side. Leaves a light tan and small creamy head that dissapates quickly. Light fizzy quick sliding lacing. Appearance is hazy with tons of setiment floating around.

Aroma is mild, but semi-sweet, malty, and dark over-ripe fruits...perticularly raisins. Very slight booze...similar to bourbon.

Wow,hmmm...I don't think this is aged in bourbon barrels, but definitely has a bourbon like flavor. Raisin flavor is a little strong. Medium body, high carbonation...boozy. This beer has some resemblences to Bad Habit Quad by Founders. Overall, a good beer...but closer to a Belgian style dark ale than an Old Ale in my oppinion.

 771 characters

Photo of thequeen711
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An ale from Founders that pours a golden/coppery colour. The frothy pour leaves a light lacing after settling. Very smooth mouthfeel, sweet fruity taste, and somewhere in the aroma I detect oak and vanilla. The ABV is well hidden, didn't realize it until I stood up!
Another keeper from Founders

 296 characters

Photo of warnerry
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Mostly translucent amber color with a lot suspended debris, almost feels like being in chemistry class and accidentally precipitating something out of a titration with one too many drops of acid.

S - Tons of sweet caramel malt and an aroma like iced tea coming through.

T - Again the sweet caramel malts dominate,though alcohol is also very prevalent. Getting some hints of fruit (cherries?), vanilla, and some nice hops on the finish.

M - Pretty moderate mouthfeel for an old ale; alcohol is a bit too prominent for my liking.

D - Decent drinkability for almost 10% abv, but due to the flavor profile I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting.

 653 characters

Photo of alleykatking
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from growler. Thanks Luke for once again sharing!

A- Poured a dark caramel color. Very little head pops up and turns into skim on the top of the beer. No real lacing but coats the glass...hmm.

S- Big time sweet malts in this one. Some brown sugar or molasses. As it warms up some vanilla somes into play. Light toffee and darker fruits make up the aroma.

T- Lots of sweet malts in the upfront of this both caramel and toffee. The darker fruits come in next but mix with a alcohol presence very well. Light oak flavor along with vanilla. A sweet alcohol in the backend of this.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little off and made the beer feel more heavy than what it was. Tons of malt left on the palate with some alcohol soaked plum in the aftertaste. Flavors were big and bold. Left my palate very dry after each sip.

D- This beer is always a struggle for me and I don't know why. I enjoy the taste but it is always a sipper for me. It is always a welcome for me but sometimes too much for me to finish. One of a few beers that is like that for me.

 1,077 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,661 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