Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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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

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Reviews: 1,286 | Ratings: 4,655
Photo of bsp77
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Slightly hazy dark amber-brown, almost has a pinkish-red tint in the light. Thin head, slight lacing.

Smell: Sweet and malty - dark fruits (plum?, raisins?) and bourbon. Some alcohol and English hops detected.

Taste: Sweet malt goodness. Caramel, toffee, bourbon, vanilla, plum and raisins with a slight English hop counterbalance, which is most noteworthy on the aftertaste. After warming more, I swear I tasted coconut.

Feel: Low carbonation, with a full, smooth, slightly chewy body. Nice warming effect.

Drinkability: Another good sipping beer from Founders, who continues to impress me. Watch out Bell's!

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Photo of bamadog
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Been waiting to try this for a while, so I figured tonight is as good of a night as any. I've been really interested in old ales lately, so hopefully this one will live up to the rest of the Founders line. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown with a ton of amber highlights pouring through; with a really hard pour I manged to get a near 1 finger head out of it that fades almost immediately to a thin and uneven skim with a thick ring around the edge of the surface; body is hazy and looks thick and viscous and there is some sediment floating throughout;

Smell: Deep, rich caramel and burnt sugary maltiness and strong presence of alcohol

Taste: Wow... Very nice -- sweet caramel and burnt sugary malts just like in the nose and a very potent presence of alcohol that is blended quite well with the strong malty flavors; a hint of spiciness and a milt hoppy bitterness sneaks in as well; as it warms a bit I feel like I'm picking up on some oak/vanilla as well -- is this aged in a barrel to any degree?

Mouthfeel: Very viscous and chewy; leaves a very thick coating all over the palate; mouth is warm and tingly from the higher ABV, as is the throat and stomach - a very potent beer.

Drinkability: Well, this is a sipper. Big and bold flavors and bigger alcohol would prevent this from being something that's especially drinkable. A great tasting offering though, doesn't quite rank up there with the Old Stock in my estimation, but still pretty damn good.

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Photo of dino213aa
2.68/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Since I have no authority to speak on what an "old ale" should taste like, consider this a mild observation.

A: an attractive clear, burnished wood glow that fades golden near the edges. minimal lacing.

S: licorice, roasted malts, bourbon

T&M&D: This beer has a strong, bourbon like flavor that will smash you in the balls and give you a good talking too (especially at 9.8%ABV). Because of the strength of this ale- both in flavor and ABV, I can't imagine drinking more that one.

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Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not much of a head, but minor lacing. As you swirl the glass you can see the carbonation seep out.

Smells of oakie caramel.

Very strong alcohol. Vanilla oak, caramels and a strange bitter twang following. There is something about the twang that reminds me of a good blue cheese.

Thick creamy mouth feel; quite luscious. Leaves your mouth and lips with a sticky syrupy film.

Too much to handle. I had two in one night and felt like I had been drinking all day and night. Very strong.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.91/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 06/05/2009. Bottle at PPRBSG09. This beer pours a cloudy orange. Aroma of sweet malt and vegetal notes. The flavor is equally gross (although slightly mellower) but still lots of sweet sticky malt and vegetation. This beer was not my thing at all...

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Photo of tigg924
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: amber, small head, cloudy, some sediment, high carbonation

Smell: malt, pineapple, currants, dried dark fruit, and a touch of hazelnut

Taste: malt, pineapple, currants, earth, and wood

Mouthfeel:sweet start with a bitter finish, medium heavy, slick, next to no feel of carbonation

Drinkability: A well balanced old ale, this is very good for the style and one of the better ones I have had. If I am looking for this style, I will seek this one out. One is about the max due to abv.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was intrigued by this bottle just from the picture. The fact that it's from founders lets me know it should be a solid choice.

It pours a orange amber color with very minimal head. The nose is rather interesting. I'm getting hints of caramel and fruit. It's fairly sweet smelling with the alcohol right there too. The taste was a WOW. It hit me right in the taste buds.It's very sweet and bitter at the same time. It has a malty carmel flavor with a good hop bite. The alcohol is present in every sip. It seems kind of thin in the mouth. The light carb helps. Needless to say this is a sipper. Not my favorite style but a nice beer none the less.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apperance: Coppery pour with light head

Smell: Unique peppery, vanilla, smokey, dark cherry scent... the combination would make a good men's fragrance

Taste: Very port like with hints of hops and roasted malt and molasses

Mouthfeel: thick, viscous and almost medicinal

Drinkability: Like many of Founders beers, the complexity of the flavors make this a stand alone beer - wouldnt want to ruin the experience by drinking too much before or after.

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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.

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Photo of Pencible
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a dark, clear mahogany with some tan head. It smelled like a malty mix of toffee, brown sugar, old honey (like when it gets really thick and pasty), prunes, and fresh wheat, and a bit of orange. It tasted like honey wheat, toffee, raisins and prunes, and a bit of copper and orange and alcohol. It was somewhat thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a mild bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this was a pretty good old ale with a nice, malty taste that was sweet but not over the top. It had good body too, and kept the alcohol mostly in check. So this was pretty easy to drink fresh, but I can easily see this improving with some age (1-3 years...maybe longer?). This is a solid beer, although it's not my favorite for this style. An oaked version of this could put it up there, but otherwise its personality was just not quite distinct enough.

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Photo of Reaper16
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

served from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass

Pours a viscous, candied/caramel-twinged shade of dark amber. The head never developed, maxing out at 3/4-finger in size. The small ring laces okay, though.

This is one sweet-smelling beer. The malts profile is giving off all kinds of hints of things. I detect vanilla, toffee, dark fruit, sugar, tobacco and cinnamon.

This beer is as sweet as the smell indicated. Phenol-city, baby. Dark fruits in abundance; cherries, too. Vanilla & toffee are present and they sort of highlight some wood flavors. Add some Belgian yeast to this and you could pass it off as a quadruppel. A small touch of brandy or port or something on the finish. Dessert beer, for sure.

The feel is thick, but not in a gloopy, cloying way given the tremendous sweetness. More like a creamy, dessert thickness. Drinkability is hampered with this beer; at close to 10% ABV, it makes itself known by the end of the first bottle (though the booze is hidden well under all of the sweetness). This is a super-sweet beer besides. I don't think many people are going to want to have multiples in one sitting.

This is a tasty brew, for sure. Lots of sweet flavors, decent complexity even if all the flavors (sans the wood) hit the same point on the tongue. Have one with dessert.

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Photo of bort11
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Slow to activate off white head. Good head retention but no lacing. Color is a dark yet clear red amber.

Smell has strong vanilla bean and oak sweetness. Taste has a mild bitter chocolate and cardamom spice. Sweet herbal spices mulled. A little hint or orange rind.

Mouthfeel is slick and a little sticky. While individual characters are nice, as a whole it wore out it's welcome a bit. Not bad, but not one I will go back to.

Blipped "Curmudgeon" by Nirvana

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Photo of blitz134
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Always wanted to try this offering from Founders but never had it available to me. I'm only able to get it now by heading up the road to Mass.

Poured into my snifter. Basically no head, just a tiny ring around the edge of the glass. Brownish-amber body with reddish highlights throughout. Clear, even though some of the dregs made it in the glass. At 9.8 I dont expect much head, but a little more would be nice. Probably carbonated low to suit the style.

Overall, not much aroma. Again the low carbonation doesn't help here. Some light grain, but primarily a brandy-like alcohol with some fruity esters. Not much fusel, which is nice.

A little grain to start but then starts to transition into a lot of different flavors. The smooth alcohol hits first, then some raisin, dark fruit flavors, hints of cherry or plum, maybe. Some tobacco and tea leaf characteristics come through after the swallow, akin to a leafy hop flavor. A little sweetness prevails and lingers.

Good medium to full bodied beer. A touch of sweetness makes the flavor a bit sticky on the palatte. Super smooth, even given the high alcohol level. Low carbonation level works right in.

Overall a nice beer, not the best Old Ale I've had. Some interesting flavors throughout. Supremely drinkable given its size.

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Photo of mikecharley
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out of the twist top into a balloon glass. Appears dark and murky copper, with a twinge of red. Really no head to speak of, save a ring of tan around the edge. Leaves no lace, however the style rarely does.

Nose is of sweet malts and some brandy-ish alcohol (only a little). Also some dark fruits are present(very subtle). Prunes, figs, raisins, some plum and cherry in there too.

The taste is wonderful. There's some wood in there as well... Gotta love this. Dark fruits as the nose would suggest. Some subtle vanilla as well.

The feel is right on for the style. Just in between medium and full bodied. Seriously perfect.

The 9.8 gets to you by the end of the glass, and the alcohol presence should mask itself after a while in the cellar to improve this aspect.

Overall a great brew. I am going to immediatly seek out a case for the cellar to see how this champ does!

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Photo of biggred1
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ruby chestnut brown with tons of tiny suspended particles visable. Slight finger of fine tan foam that quickly melts and leaves very little lace behind. The nose is oaked vanilla, molasses, beet sugar and toffee maltiness. The flavor is sweet and complex, woody caramelized brown sugar with a touch of minty tasting hops struggling to balance. The high ABV is extremely well hidden. Mildly carbonated with a medium heavy, bordering on syrupy mouthfeel. Be careful with the curmudgean, he's a sneaky bastard, this beer is way to easy to drink at 9.8%.

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Photo of oelergud
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chubby 12oz brown glass bottle with a twist off cap and a label showing what I assume is a curmudgeon. 9.8 abv per the label.
Nice ruby body with next to no head, on agitation a tan cramy head appears briefly hence no lace.
Very inviting scent. Sweet malts with vanilla and a note of scotch, alcohol and wood.
Creamy vanilla hoppy flavor with plenty of wood notes, very nice flavor again with scotch notes. The aftertaste is long lasting and full of vanilla wood.
Medium full body with good coating and a nice sticky feel from residual sugars.
Excellent drinkability, far from your run of the mill craft beer. This ale will make any old curmudgeon crack a grin.


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Photo of atpben
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the Founders brewery. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark reddish orange color. Very flowery in the aroma with caramel and light vanilla creeping in. The taste was just amazing coconut and toffee combined - wow. Later on molasses and caramel apples came in. A very uniquely tasting beer. Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy. A nice smooth finish. A great night cap beer or after dinner beer. Founders needs to be in Texas NOW!!!

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle served in a snifter. Poured a clear reddish copper with a finger of off white head. Big complex aroma of malt, oak, and some hops. Full bodied and rich. Flavors of chocolate and vanilla from the oak. A bit hoppier than an British style old ale. Long finish with more oak and chocolate. A big, rich flavored beer with a lot of different flavors going on. Nice!

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Photo of sweemzander
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a KBS goblet glass. Bottled date of 2/2009 printed on the neck! Wow, is Founders finally printing bottling dates now?!

(A)- Poured a light-medium brown amber that is nearly clear. Little foam present but did have a light layer of yellowish-white bubbles covering the surface. Tiny bits of lacing appearing here and there.

(S)- Slight hickory smokiness hidden behind some crazy caramel-ish malt complexities. Some thoughts of molasses & nuttiness.

(T)- Those malt complexities are really striking in the flavor profile. The caramel/molasses/honey/vanilla/butterscotch becomes a really different combination in the way they are layered; almost buttery. Fairly candy-like, but more like a sweet tawny port!

(M)- Like I said earlier, the texture of this is almost buttery smooth with a tickle of carbonation on the tongue. The tiny hop bitterness bite on the finish is almost nonexistent, but worth mentioning because its such a surprise amidst this malt monster.

(D)- The sweetness from the malts masks the whopping 9.8% pretty well. In my opinion, this is the pinnacle of the perfect dessert beer. It would go great with a great Cameroon wrapped cigar! I am excited to see how this will age considering how much like a tawny port this really is!

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Photo of wchesak
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Abbaye du Val-Dieu glass

A - dark ruby brown, minimal head, some lacing beginning

S - dark fruit, cherry, alcohol becomes more noticeable as it warms but never overpowers

T - creamy, cherry milkshake with some malty chocolate notes, rum and port like, more rum though

M - great smoothness, no bite or hotness from the alcohol, hardly any after taste at all

D - this is surprisingly drinkable for the style and abv, i have been focusing on anything hoppy or pale for the most part and wanted something malty and this hit the spot

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Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Brooklyn tulip / snifter. Pulled out of the fridge after two hours and sipped on for about an hour and change.

Appearance: A nice darker amber, with an off-white head, leaving disseminated droplets of lacing uniformly, pretty much, around the glass. By the end there's some floaties from the yeast, I suppose, as I don't think it's hop residue.

Smell: Initially what a vanilla chocolate swirl malted milkshake might smell like. Big malt aromas, nice cream, chocolate mousse, mild coffee, woody alcohol, and some citrus hops that become a bit too evident possibly, though they mingle nicely.

Taste: Right out of the fridge, the hops were almost annoyingly bitter. The cream and chocolate and vanilla malt flavors were big, then a huge wave of orange-rind hops attacked. As it warms to room temperature the hops remain, but they're not as dominant. The malt flavors come through well, and it's not to heavy on the raisins, as a lot of Old Ales can be, in almost that drippingly sweet sense on the tongue. But again the kind of chocolate malt flavors come through here, with some lighter caramel and vanilla and mild coffee, and then it sinks into the citrus hops, which I think still could be turned down a few notches here, especially when drinking semi-fresh. I really don't think it'd be too sweet if they weren't as dominant; after all, it's an Old Ale, right? So maybe some time in the cellar would do this some good and let the malt flavors really do their thing and become something great.

Mouthfeel: Big and viscous and coating, yet not cloying and not so thick that it ends up being like a RIS can be. Fitting for the style and nice as it warms.

Drinkability: A solid Old Ale, and even though for how little there are out there, there are better ones to try. I enjoyed this, and it's a great sipper as the weather gets colder, but either it needs time in the cellar to let the hops dissipate a bit, or it's just the tiniest bit out of whack to really become transcendent, for which it has the potential.

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Photo of currysage1
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Harpoon Leviathan glass (tulip?), cellar temp aged for 6 months.

Look is a really deep orange topped with a short lived off white head that drops to a ring and a wisp, alcohol makes this understandable.

Smell is brown sugar mixed with dark rum, allspice, clove, black pepper.

Taste is chocolate that gives way quickly to the molasses chewyness, a good level of hop bite, almost a plant like quality, almost like dried grass, theres that dark rum again.

Feel is pretty spot on for an Old, dense full slightly oily mouthfeel with low carbonation from the extended fermentation and high alcohol. Would certainly have again but one at a time. They definately keep the alcohol under wraps on this one.

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Photo of mhatters
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at TND

Pours an amberorange color with some chestnut notes. Small, thin head that did not persist.

Lots of alcohol in the nose, whiskey dominates. After this dissipates some, the burnt sugar and caramel notes came through. A bit harsh.

Very sweet, raisin and dates come through too. The alcohol never far from the front, a bit too hot form me.

The sweetness, hotness, and fruitiness are too much for my liking - not bad, just not my taste.

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Photo of supercolter
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My favorite Old Ale to date- although I will admit I have only had a handful in this style.
Appearance- small head and some spiderweby lacing.
Smell is aggressive (more so than other founder's offerings) with a decent amount of alcohol and dry hops, well balanced with dry malt.
Taste is fairly similar, the hops are a bit heavier here and open up to a piney taste. The alcohol is more definative and definately has a whiskey flavor.
Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with little carbonation.
Drinkability- its a sessionable beer, drink it slow and let it open up.

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Photo of mwa423
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - An aggressive pour out of the bottle gave a single finger of head that died down to lacing that stuck through the rest of the glass. The color is dark brown with a hint of red when you hold it up to light.

S - Very sweet smell. There is a hint of malt, but it doesn't smell like the usual malt flavor, but of certain types of raw malt.

T - Very good style bitterness, really not complex at all but it gets it dead on for the style.

M/D - Very easy drinker, it just goes down easily and leaves a great aftertaste. While I doubt I would kill the four pack, it is something I wouldn't mind having regularly.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,655 ratings.
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