Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

BA SCORE
89
very good
4,712 Ratings
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:
Think classic seafaring ports, local pubs and weathered old fishermen. This old ale is brewed with molasses and an insane focus on the malt bill. Then Oak-Aged. The result is a rich, malty delight that's deceptively smooth and drinkable.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

BEER STATS
Ratings:
4,712
Reviews:
1,308
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
216
Gots:
1,165
For Trade:
53
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,712 |  Reviews: 1,308
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.

 483 characters

Photo of wheelinshirt
2.7/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Excited to try this one for a while, not really sure what to expect. Picked it up at Abe's for $3 or so, poured into a pint glass.

Less dark than i was expecting, it looks like a mahogany color with lots of little tiny sediment particles, some visible carbonation and a modest light tan head that receded to a thin covering and left hole sections of the glass covered in solid lace.

Smell is boozy and full of sweet dark malts, some dark ripe fruit, some toffee notes. Pretty nice mix.

But here is where things start to turn ugly. The taste is immediately boozy and sweet, as expected, but the bitter roasted malts don't seem to meld very well with the sugar and alcohol. Also, the burnt toffee (i think that is how i would describe that) taste is pretty upfront and not really to my liking.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Pretty damn good, actually.

Drinkability is severely limited by the combination of flavors that I didn't particularly enjoy. Someone else, though, might have this same beer and absolutely love it. Definately interesting, i might even pick one up to age it for a couple years, but, fresh at least, it isn't really for me.

EDIT: as i got down about halfway and it had warmed enough it basically just started to taste like rum. Had to pour it out because it wasn't worth trying to choke down. Only the second or third time I have had to pour beer out. Very disappointing.

 1,398 characters

Photo of jsh420
2.71/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

bottled 3/5/09

pours dark clear amber with small white/tan head that fades fast with no lacing

smell is all sweet candy carmel and alcohol - i could tell this was going to be a hot one

taste - i picked up some banana carmel and too much booze

mouthfeel was good light carbonation but not flat - body is on the a tad heavy and sticky

drinkability - not good this one need to sit a while

overall this beer is nowhere close to fresh old stock (which i love) but time might be on this ones side - i will check back in a year

 526 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.73/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a burnt sienna color with huge, oily-looking chunks of sediment plopping down into the glass. That plus very little head means this is one ugly-ass beer - almost to the point where I'm afraid to sip it.

S: Quite strong with molasses, mint, and caramel, while darker fruits help augment the malt backbone. Pretty nice smelling, and a lot more promising than the look of the beer.

T: The flavor is hard to describe. The first sip is loaded with caramel, dark fruit, brown sugar, and a little finishing booze; a few sips later, the profile changes to that of slightly burnt pumpernickel bread. Not as sweet as I expected, probably due to the age of the bottle and the yeast eating some of the sugar - despite that, it's still a bit cough syrup-y at times. Kind of boozy, also. Just a weird, strange beer, one that I'm struggling to finish.

M: Thickly textured, with tannins helping to neutralize the finish somewhat. Nice creaminess to start, before the body itself finishes slightly coarse and sticky. Rather boozy feeling on the throat in particular.

O: Meh. In fairness, this is not a good late afternoon kind of beer, but I still found it rather mediocre despite that. A rare misfire from Founders, but it's not completely irredeemable.

 1,286 characters

Photo of Krakistophales
2.74/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a nice ruby red color with lively carbonation and no lace...but there's a glob of sediment/protein/whatever it is floating around on top, and that's just disgusting. Had to remove before I could start drinking.

S: Not much going on here. Some malt sweetness, the slightest hint of dark fruit, not much else.

T: Better than the smell, but still pretty average. Malt sweetness at first, with a touch of tartness of what might be cherries, a zing of some other dark fruits, and a slightly hoppy aftertaste, but underwhelming all the same.

O: Probably the worst I've had from founders. I've had KBS and Dirty bastard, which were both fantastic, so this one must be a hiccup.

 682 characters

Photo of bspain5
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of sleepyteacher
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of DTown
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of vicsju1991
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of ScottStache
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of fullmoonbeer
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%

Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
2.77/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Color is a rather unattractive orange-brown, and the lack of any head or lacing doesn't help the appearance. Scents of dark fruits and molasses are nice if a bit weak, and there's a bit of a boozy smell too. Caramel and molasses are up front in the taste, with a punch of booziness in the finish that I don't find particularly pleasant. High pucker factor and plenty of burn going down the throat. This is not one of Founder's better offerings.

 444 characters

Photo of kohoutek
2.78/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep ruddy amber without filtration. This bottle sat for three days in the fridge and it is still very cloudy. Head is light caramel in color with a short life and little persistent lace.

The aroma is wild: overoaked, over bourboned, malty, wheaty sweetness with a touch of fresh morning urine. Where is the piss coming from and why won't it leave?

The beer is large, sweet and boozy with an oakiness that would make a late 90's Cali-Chardonnay jealous. This is an oak bomb!
Butter, Bourbon and a sweet malty mess.

Mouthfeel: Well, for a 9.3% beer, I would understand sweet, but everything about this beer is over the top. Bittering hops perform like an underly confident supporting actor in the middle school production. They try, but they cannot step up to the immensly expulsive and overconfident quickly maturing and painfully overcompensating female lead(s).

After 20 min of swirling and smelling the urine is beginning to subside but the bourbon sweetness is increasing.

Edit: I stopped swirling for two minutes and the urine is back.

 1,065 characters

Photo of Klister
2.79/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Photo of GatorHopper
2.8/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Photo of seedyone
2.8/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

4/26/16 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Perusing the selection I see something familiar & sure enough it's one I'd left with an open ended question: woud it be any better on draft.

Two years is along time, so there's that...but at first blush it has a more disinctive personality than related previously.

The molasses are prevelant effected by the oak, & for me there's not much else.

02/12/17 On tap at Rattle n Hum. Most interseting feature is the mottled lacing that lies the mug on the retreat. Big flavor that masks the ABV. Big oak battling big molasses. Adds up to a big brutal fiasco in a glass. The lacing is the smoke clearing.

05/19/14 From bottle. As I'm on a barrel aged kick lately, no stone shall go unturned. Here is a fine example of how pervasive oaking can be..until, of course it meets something just as persuasive as the molasses used here. Not a lot on the nose & no head to speak of so that leaves the battle on the tongue between the oak & the treacle. Each as it's moment but neither comes out a winner. I enjoyed it but could not get past the novelty effect. I suspect a draft portion...or better yet, a nitro pour could lift this to another level.

 1,177 characters

Photo of JaredinOmaha
2.8/5  rDev -29.8%

Photo of falloutsnow
2.8/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: None on bottle, spring 2013 release
Glass: Founders snifter

Founders' Curmudgeon is a rather disappointing old ale, featuring a good, but fairly uncomplicated dark brown caramel-like sweetness with a bit of oak, both of which are rather quickly subsumed by the ethanol content of the beer. The alcohol becomes excessively apparent with warmth, detracting from the overall experience and enjoyment of this beer. I find myself asking, "was this intentional, or just a too-hot and quick fermentation/bottling/shipping schedule?" Founders suggests that this beer is "deceptively smooth and drinkable," on the 4-pack, but I'd heartily disagree. Nowhere near comparable to the effortless smoothness (that is, non-ethanol-detectable) and more complex flavors in, say, Hair of the Dog releases. Not one I'd pick up again.

Pours a 0.5cm tall head of beige-colored, small-sized bubbles, with below average retention of about twenty seconds, barely enough time to register that the head looked a bit frothy. The head fades to a thin ring around the glass, and leaves good lacing, a more than moderate number of large dots cling to the glass' sides. Beer's body is a dark golden orange color, almost brown, with reddish highlights; light brings out brighter golden orange hues with yellow highlights. Carbonation visible through the slightly hazy (20-30% opacity) body, low in number and moderate in activity.

Aroma of fairly heavy caramel-like sweetness, ethanol, and oak, only moderately robust, not nearly as expressive or complex as I was hoping.

The most notable flavors of the beer are heavy/syrupy brown caramel-like sweetness, a touch of toasted bread and oak, and big ethanol, which becomes more apparent the longer the sip lasts in the mouth. The front of the palate tastes moderate oak, medium-strong brown caramel-like sweetness, and light ethanol. Mid-palate detects flavors of strong ethanol, heavy/syrupy brown caramel-like sweetness, a touch of toasted bread and oak, but the somewhat harsh ethanol largely steamrolls the other flavors. Back of palate is largely of heavy/syrupy brown caramel-like sweetness with a bit of oak, which is quite pleasant, but then the ethanol largely obscures this with its flavor and heat. Aftertaste is primarily of ethanol, with a bit of light caramel sweetness hidden in the background.

Beer's body is medium-heavy, with carbonation of medium-low intensity, resulting in a lightly foamy (1/4), mostly smooth (3/4) mouthfeel that is appropriate for sipping a beer of this style. Unfortunately, ethanol is easily felt as heat in the nostrils and across the palate, and as a burning sensation on the throat. Though "only" 9.8% ABV, this feels like a much stronger beer; ethanol not well-hidden. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness lingering on the palate and lips.

 2,849 characters

Photo of q33jeff
2.82/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

**
04/18/2013
05/03/2013
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.
**
04/27/2017
Founders tasting with DC.
Upped a little. This is still decent, but no BB. 2.56 to 2.82.
**

 552 characters

Photo of Itoclown
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased from Ladd's in Muskegon. Drank on January 28th out of a Duvel tulip.

Look: Dark red with lots of haze. No head.
Smell: Malty. Also, light hints of scotch whiskey.
Taste/Mouthfeel: The longer this one cools, the more it tastes like beer mixed with whiskey. It's thick and heavy. Hints of caramel and dried fruit... maybe some raisons? Smooth on the tongue.

Overall/Notes: This beer was difficult for me. Not used to this style. Plus the smell and taste weren't very apparent for a while. The scotch whiskey taste was overwhelming after the beer warmed up. And after a while the alcohol came out as well.
Not a fan of this beer and I think I will avoid it in the future. Least favorite Founders brew.

 715 characters

Photo of bjoyce12
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Overpowered by the bourbon taste. Not much carbonation, which could have offset the high ABV. Maybe I got an old bottle, but alcohol burn very present. Can't get past the bourbon taste, both in the initial flavor and aftertaste. Very much like Old Grand Dad. Founders must use some of their bourbon casks in the brewing process.

 328 characters

Photo of MLoxxer
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A respectable high gravity ale. I was able to enjoy this one on tap. The head left behind nice, residual lacing. Although I always think of old ales as darker than this I was pleased with the haziness. From a flavor perspective, this one is hoppier and less complex than I would like. That being said, I like the style and will be having Old Curmudgeon again.

 359 characters

Photo of jwhawkins81
2.87/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled Fresh

Aroma - Way sweet smell with no noticeable hop characteristics.

Appearance - Cloudy reddish brown with no I mean no carbonation.

Taste - Sweet cherries and then the bite of alcohol. This beer really needs to be sipped and also needs to hit the tip of your tongue. I got some raisin flavors near the end.

Mouthfeel - Not a light beer. Without carbonation this beer just lays there.

Drinkability - I can't imagine drinking more than one of these at a time. I hope this beers improves over the next three years in my cellar.

 540 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,712 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