Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,264 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,264 | Ratings: 4,596
Photo of willic
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber or copper, medium dark head, appears thin
Aroma: Intense! Sweet dried fruits? Toffee?
Flavor: Come to mama! The intensity builds in your mouth! Oaky, creamy, complex
Mouthfeel: Thin in body, with smoooooth texture and fun carbonation
Overall: VERY impressive beer! I really enjoyed!!!

 307 characters

Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 2/06/14.

Comes in a completely turbid and opaque reddish brown color. Almost no head is produced, but wisps of lacing are still left along the inside of the glass.
It smells like canned plums in syrup, honey, sweet and sour cherries, toffee, vanilla, and oak.
The palate smacks of huge dark fruit and complex malt flavors. Cherries, dates, figs, plums, and raisins meet caramel, toffee, honey, wood smoke, and beets. Oak and vanilla are also there, smoothing things out. There's some warmth of booze on the finish, followed by a lingering sweetness.
The mouthfeel isn't super thick, more medium, but oily. Lightly carbonated.

Wow. Another success from Founders. They can do no wrong in my eyes.

 714 characters

Photo of Marius
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

355 ml bottle. Clear ruby pour, little head. Smells of malted barley, caramel and caramelized fruit (cherries, prunes, stuff like that), raisins. Heavy caramel in the mouth, together with a hop bitterness and a metallic feeling in the background. Not one of the best old ales out there.

 286 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque amber producing 3+ fingers of frothy, lasting, beige head that leaves nice chunky rings & webs of sticky lace. Aroma is toffee/molasses & fruitcake, bready malts, candy apple, thin dark fruits, herbal hops, booze & a whiff of pine. Taste is a malty caramel & toffee/molasses, fruitcake, boozy, some dark fruits, roasted nuts, wood/vanilla with a boozy-sweet, woody finish & aftertaste of caramel, toffee, wood & alcohol spice. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied with moderate carbonation, smooth, chewy & syrupy with prickles from front to finish. This is an absolute delight!

 583 characters

Photo of havron
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled date of 02/05/2015. The man on the bottle looks a bit like my old college chemistry teacher, which is a bonus. Poured into a tulip and imbibed 12/18/2015.

L: Pours a slightly hazy dark amber-copper with a good khaki head that recedes to a thin persistent ring leaving slow downsliding lacing as a cavalcade of tiny bubbles continue to rise up through the elixir from the bottom of the glass.

S: Oak and toffee, with notes of molasses and dark fruits. Alcohol is perceptible but inviting rather than acrid.

T: Smooth oaky goodness for days, that only gets better and better as the beer warms. Over the continuous malty oak backbone a moderately alcoholic and carbonated pungency rapidly builds and then quickly recedes to reveal flavors of dark fruits and sweet molasses counterpointed by a background melody of earthy hops. Woody shades of oak linger long on the tongue. Quite pleasant.

F: Uncannily smooth, full-bodied with very little alcohol bite and absurdly quaffable for the ABV. Is this really 9.8%? Damn....yep. I am definitely feeling it toward the end of the glass. This stuff could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

O: Another solid ale from Founders. The premiere brewery from the state of my birth continues to represent the Pleasant Peninsula with first-rate brews. Rock on, you crafty ladies and gentlemen. Rock on.

 1,342 characters

Photo of DaneBramage
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to describe, lots of flavors involved here such as molasses, tobacco, chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla and burnt fruit. Very smoky but all of the flavors seem to coexist well together. Another solid effort from Founders.

 230 characters

Photo of HopHunter19
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - dark copper murky beer, no head and therefore no lacing
S - musty, leather, tobacco, vanilla, caramel, toffee, butterscotch
T - musty, leather, dark fruits, tobacco, caramel, vanilla, bitter earthy hops
M - heavy, alcohol completely covered, aftertaste is musty, old, wholesome malts
O - great beer, bottled 1/14/15 drank 12/12/15, age is good for this one

 360 characters

Photo of Czarkazm
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/1/2014. The body is a bright orange amber color with a short-lasting off white head. The smell is loaded with sweet malts, caramel, candied rum raisin, heavy oak, dark fruit, vanilla, brown sugar and molasses, maybe some leather or tobacco qualities. Mouth feel is on the fuller side of medium, there's some alcohol warmth felt after the swallow, dry finish, and not as sweet tasting as the smell would suggest. Very well balanced by the bitterness of the hops, which, by now, don't come through at all except for maybe an underlying earthiness. The flavor starts off with a sweet maltiness, honey, toffee, molasses, followed by a bitterness of the oak? some dark fruits, and toast. I enjoy this one more with at least a year on it.

 750 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served at cellar temperature into a tulip. Bottled May 2, 2015.

Appearance - an aggressive pour leads to a dark ruby coloured beer capped with a finger of off-white head and good retention. A small thin curtain of lace cascades down the sides of the glass. The beer is just a bit cloudy and plenty of lively bubbles.

Smell - big time aroma of predominately molasses and treacle. Some related aromas of caramel, and butterscotch too, but mostly molasses.

Taste - huge malt flavours, molasses, treacle and even some liquorice for good measure. Great flavor combo that works well as a sipper. Bitterness is present but restrained although it prevents this old ale from becoming sweet. Alcohol flavours aren't too noticeable either.

Mouthfeel - smooth, with good carbonation and a thick body that is chewy like a piece of fine toffee. Body is definitely on the heavy side but it complements the flavours rather than detracting.

Overall - an awesome old ale, that I'm thankful I've tried. Huge body and molasses flavours make this not the most well rounded beer but the malt dimension is so great on this that it doesn't matter. Definitely a beer for all beer advocates.

 1,183 characters

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

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 FBGordon
3.52/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on draft into an Irish pint glass.

A: Pours a beautiful copper with amber highlights, has an off-white head that laces nicely.

S: Notes of caramel and some piney hops with a touch of toffee.

T: Some hops out of the gate, notes of apricot and bread crust with some bitterness settling on the back end.

M: Medium body with good carbonation, a little bitterness on the back end.

O: A solid, enjoyable ale. Don't let the "Old Ale" style deter you, this is a style and a beer that you need to try. It's a big, heady beer at 9.8%, so drink responsibly!

 560 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 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 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 DJ-Hophead
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle, Brewers Droop, Bristol - Pours clear amber with a large white head. Nice lacing. Medium carbonation. Smell - Light caramel with hints of roasted coffee. Taste - Very sweet with a hint of caramel and light malty boozy finish. Nice strong slow easy driniking ale even through the sweetness but definitely a sipper for cold winter nights.

 350 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L-Chestnut colored....minimal head..

S-Excellent. Big chewy caramel and nougat.....vanilla...

T-The flavor does not bring as much intensity as I hoped for from the aroma. You get some oak/vanilla, caramel and nougat but in lighter doses and there is a bit of alcohol bite on the back end.

F-Pretty boozy and sharp. Alcohol is not hidden in this one.

O-I like this but had higher hopes off the initial smell.....a bit too sharp with the grain alcohol like impression for my tastes...

 492 characters

Photo of craftcraver
3.74/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Pours a clear amber color with a finger thick cream head that falls over about a minute.

S: A reserved nose with hints of coffee, toffee and malt.

T: What wasn't there in the nose jumps out on the palate. M+ carbonation, big toffee, vanilla and cream notes. Slight coffee and hoppy bitterness. Starts off creamy and has a long complex bitter finish.

O: Another great heavy beer by founders. The complexity is well balanced but the richness of this beer demands some sippin.

 482 characters

Photo of lastmango
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a medium reddish brown with a thin head that dissipated quickly. Moderate lacing. Aroma was very mild caramel. Sweet malt and caramel flavor forward with an immediate earthy oak mid-taste followed by a moderate hoppiness. Medium thickness without much carbonation. Watch the alcohol, it sneaks up on you.

 315 characters

Photo of UrbanCaveman
2.1/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle, poured into an oversized wine glass at ~45 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear ruddy amber, and forms almost no head. What does form vanishes completely in short order, in a puff of fizzing.

Smell: The aroma is subtle, barely there, likely due to the wide-mouth glass. It is mild caramel and sweetness, with very soft hints of oak.

Taste: And alas, my hop sensitivity strikes. This has an earthy, ashy bitterness to it which becomes virtually all I can taste. I can faintly, oh so very faintly, make out wispy ghosts of sweet caramel beneath the dirty ashes, but that's it.

Mouthfeel: Acrid and harsh are the only things I can describe this as, like most beers that trip my hop sensitivity trigger.

Overall: This is a beer I'd cite as an example of where "old ale" and "English barleywine" are not necessarily synonyms - I've run into fewer English barleywines that I can barely drink than old ales. This may very well be a tasty beer, but it's one I can't enjoy.

 990 characters

Photo of cab4514
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to an amber look with a good head. Smells oaky with a little malt. Love the taste. As an earlier reviewer put it, definitely a boozier beer. Looking forward to drinking this in the winter.

 194 characters

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours red with orange highlights and a two finger off white head. Aroma is molasses, alcohol, dark fruit, and a touch of cough syrup. Taste is dark fruit, molasses, a bit of cough syrup, alcohol, and a hint of oak. Mouthfeel is medium. Overall an interesting beer, and a style I could get into for winter.

 309 characters

Photo of jeffdr123
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber color with a short head that disappears - a reminder that it's a thick beer with not a lot of carbonation.
Smells like brown sugar and oak.
Tastes exactly like the label says it will: "old ale brewed with molasses and oak aged." A brown ale taste with more hops. Mellows as it warms. The higher alcohol slipped up on me.

 333 characters

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

L: Pours a hazy dark amber with a short-lived off white head

S: Big oaky aroma with a definite molasses profile. Nice malt aroma, bread crust and a bit of an earthy hop. Some orange peel and raisin with a bit of an ESB flair.

T: Oaky with sweet malt and brown sugar. Spicy, nutmeg flavor with a bit of earthiness. A bit of a smoky flavor in the background. Decent bitterness, but little hop flavor. A bit of an alcohol bite but the sweetness hides it well with a bittersweet finish.

F: Medium body, slick oily. Low carbonation

O: A nice cold weather warmer. Big oak flavor with a sweet malt backbone. Not too heavy. I'll have another.

 641 characters

Photo of CincyBrewTull
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Curmudgeon is a boozy thick beer and that becomes ever more apparent as it warms. At first its smooth and tastes of caramel and toffee with hints of molasses. As it warms slight vanilla and oak notes begin to hide behind the alcohol.

 233 characters

Photo of Carb-Overlord
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Old Ale for an old man! Can't wait until it's socially acceptable for me to rock in my chair all day and drink Curmudgeon. Good smell and great mouthfeel on this one. Thick and chewy, just the way it should be. The beer was on the sweet side for me; I was getting a lot of caramel in there. The booze was a little too in my face; I prefer a more subtle booziness in my old ale... the kind that catches up with you and you awake in the neighbors yard being poked with sticks by the twins who live across the street.

This is a good thick blood warming old ale; you should definitely give this one a try.

 607 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,596 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.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!