Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

very good
1,275 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: 1,275 | Ratings: 4,631
Photo of bbeane
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a snifter... amber colored, very cloudy with some decent sized pieces of sediment. Very little head and no lacing

S- Smells of sweet fruits, malts, and alcohol

T- Starts out very sweet... malts, fruits... plum, cinnamon... finishes a bit dry with some definate alcohol presences

M- Pretty watery... light to medium bodied with very little carbonation. Bit of alcohol aftertaste

D- Tastes great... not the best beer to be drinking hard, but a nice sipping beverage and worth buying more IMO


 518 characters

Photo of farrago
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One finger of orange-tan hued head, mostly dense foam but all kinds of bubble sizes found, foamy lacing as well, clings then slowly slides downwards. Brick red, rust color to more dark amber orange further out, warm and murky glow throughout. Sweey, jiggling jelly roll of a nose, brown sugar and molasses, sure, also coconut shavings, orange marmalade, crème brûlée and French vanilla ice cream, satisfyingly sweet but not insipidly ingratiating, firms up as it sits in your nostrils. Medium-bodied and actually a lot lighter in its feet than one might expect given the sweetness factor. Molasses, caramel, cocoa, cinnamon and coconut cream waste no time in asserting themselves, soft and inviting, at the same time the carbonation subtly lifts things up and prods them forward. Rich peach, apricot, nectarine fruit flavors too while tangerine and pink grapefruit citrus abounds. Full finish that fills the belly and makes you want to refill the empty glass.

 962 characters

Photo of ibbjamin
2.27/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Paid $3.49 for a 12oz bottle from Discount Liquor in Milwaukee, WI. I pour into a snifter to review.

A thick brownish orange elixir pours from the bottle. No head or carbonation.

Bourbon-like boozy nose with candied raisin, oak and caramel malt. Has an organic earthiness to it and even some slight butterscotch hints.

Taste is more reminiscent of a boozy barleywine than an old ale. A bit hot from the alcohol which is poorly hidden. Fermented dark fruits, bourbon, oak some caramel malt.

Almost no carbonation detected in the mouth. Medium-full body with an almost chewy texture and long finish.

Even taken as a boozy sipper, it really is not all that great. If I wanted to sip on booze, I'd go for some fine bourbon on the rocks, not a boozy old ale.

 759 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a small tan head on top of a dirty brown body. A great whiskey and caramel malt aroma with some woodiness and roasted malt along with hints of berry fruits. A medium body that passes smooth with a just a little roughness - osome type of oakiness makes it go down easy with small amounts of bready and roasted malts behind a large chunk of sweet malt. Little bit of fruity hops balances this stick, slow sipper and the ABV complements it with a dry backbite. Just a quality sipper that is very enjoyable.

 510 characters

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

A- No head to speak of, instead you get a thin film that floats atop a clouded deep red beer with lots of floaties in suspension.

S- I can already tell this is going to be a malt bomb. The nose is full of sweet malts. Dark fruits, raisins, cherries, currants and alcohol.

T- Same story as the smell. Malty and sweet. Cherries, butterscotch and raisins are noted. There is a slight bite of hops and alcohol on the back.

M- Almost no carbonation. Its really thick, syrupy and smooth.

D- This is a sipper for me. The alcohol is there. This beer is just too chewy to make it possible to have more than one.

This is a pretty good beer. Nice and full bodied and warming.

 670 characters

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

12 oz bottle from a four pack.

Appearance: A hard pour allows formation of a short lived foamy head on top of this clear copper colored beer. Not a lot of lacing, but no surprise there.

Smell: Very rich, very sweet, very malty. The sweet smell is almost raisiny. Faint whiff of hops.

Taste: Sweet, syrupy mouthful of malt. Super sweet and caramelly. From the middle to the back, the huge malty sweetness has some attempt at balance from hoppy bitterness. Finish is a nice sweet, malty to bitter balance.

Mouthfeel: Big, chewy, syrupy. Not a ton of carbonation, but not flat feeling.

Drinkability: Really enjoyed this four pack. A delicious sipper. Sweet, malty, and delicious.

 681 characters

Photo of kegger22
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, reddish brown with small head that quickly reduced to a collar. The aroma came through as boozy and the smell of old wood. The taste was malty sweet caramel with a taste of vanilla and alcohol. A slightly bitter aftertaste when away as Curmudgeon warmed. The feel was full bodied with low carbonation. Drinkability was reasonably good. As old ales go, not as good as Adam, but a very respectable entry from Founders.

 433 characters

Photo of homebrew311
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I've tried this beer a few times from both the bottle and draft, this review is on the draft version.

A: Pours a clear dark reddish amber. Almost no head to speak of, some slight white soapy bubbles, but nothing much.

S: the smell is very malt forward, with some sweetness, some vanilla, and a liquor like quality that I can't put my finger on (like bourbon or something like that). If I didn't know any better, I would think this beer was barrel aged.

T: The sweetness is up front with vanilla as the predominant flavor. There is definitely some booziness on the tongue, but the draft version seems more mellow than what I remember of the bottled version. There is a nice balance in this brew along with a richness. It definitely is warming and makes for a nice winter sipper. No perceptible hops.

MF: Has a nice thick body to go along with its high carbonation. A little sharp on the tongue. I think if the carbonation was toned down a touch, this would be a better beer.

D: As I said before, this is a sipper. It loses points in drinkability since it is only enjoyable in small doses. My serving was approx 10 oz, which was perfect. But anymore would have been overwhelming.

 1,182 characters

Photo of PartyBear
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours with a deep brownish red colour, a fast fading small off-white head, very little carbonation.

Aroma: The nose is very sweet, with toffee-apple, butterscotch, creamy caramel, and the slightest hint of alcohol. Really great aroma.

Taste: This tastes just like it smells, there is a sweet toffee apple right at the start, with smooth caramel, and creamy butterscotch. The finish has a mildly smokey character that lingers.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, chewy, and sticky.

Drinkability: The flavours are so incredibly well rounded and moreish that it is dangerously drinkable. There isn't a hint of alcohol in the taste, which for a beer that almost reaches 10% is a fantastic achievement. I love it.

 710 characters

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

A - Pours dark honey, small lace, small head...not much head.

S - Caramel sweet. Hoppy outskirt.

T - Yum. Big caramel center, somewhat harsh alcohol burn, bitter hops do their job.

M - Medium bodied, good card, pretty perfect balance.

D - I really like this one. Can't believe I have not reviewed before.

 308 characters

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 beerthulhu
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark Brazilian cherry with a non-developing head and a good haziness of micro particles that drifted lazily about within the drink. Effervesce was limited to one or two bubbles visible at any given moment that rose at a fairly rapid rate to the surface. The coloring was perhaps the most intriguing here.

S: The aroma was quite odd and hard to identify at first. A fuzzy navel was the first to come to mind (a mixture of orange juice and vodka). Along came a fresh fruitiness of apricots, honey, and a sweet sugary grainy nature that was followed by a dry burbon backing that was light to medium in strength. Overall a quite odd, but intriguing aroma keeps you guessing and sniffing for more.

T: The flavor starts out with sweet sugary caramel and dry burbon. There is a fruity booziness at the very beginning of oranges and apricots that is sweet and brief before giving way to a dry caramel and dry burbon alcohol booziness that lingers on well after the swallow (4-5 seconds) creating a good warmth of sweet, boozy dry nature.

M: medium full, very slick and smooth texture wise with an incredibly light, almost absent carbonation presence makes this slide around the tongue with ease.

D: good, a bit boozy and dry drinking much bigger then its advertised 9.8% abv. Your not gonna be drinking to many of these at one time, best sampled by itself in a chalice or goblet at a moderately warm temp (55-60F) on a chilly winter night.

 1,451 characters

Photo of movingtrain
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. This is a bottle I pulled from my cellar, and is about a year old.

Pours a cloudy light brown/red color with very little head.

Smells of whiskey, vanilla, pepper and spice, bitter apple.

Tastes of vanilla, cinnamon, cream, whiskey, oak, bitter fruit.

This is an excellent beer...very warming, but not overly alcoholic (in the taste, anyway). It is well balanced, malty, and has some very good oak and whiskey notes. It is pungent and delicious, and therefore one to be savored.

 521 characters

Photo of becktone
4.41/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

From notes 7-23-09

Eye: This beer is more or less copper in color, with orange, red and yellow hues. Clarity is real good, the body is very easy to see through. Head formation, retention and lacing are all lacking, very much so. This is the only thing that I think this beer could use some serious work on.

Nose: Huge nose here, as soon as it pours and is opened, before its even close to the nose, huge vanilla, oak, and sweet malt aromas hit the nose, also getting some brown sugar type of aromas from far away. When right up in the nose there is a dark sweetness in here that must be coming from the molasses that is used in this beer. Alcohol is well hidden. Big caramel aromas come out too, quite a lot going on. I get different characteristics with my nose right up in the glass and just sitting back with the glass about a foot away. Nice aroma on this one.

Tongue: Oakiness is apparent right up front, bitterness from hops balances this one out quite nice along with some lingering astringincy and dryness from the oak. Alcohol is noticeable but doesn't get anywhere close to being in the way of this beer's flavor. Molasses can be tasted. Vanilla tones come in more towards the finish of this one. Overall a nice beer, very good old ale, perfect for the weather out today-overcast and Fallish July! Quite suitable for cooler days, just taking be back to simpler times, something like the four pack carrier says salty seamen etc, etc, tall ships, etc...-

Feel and Drinkability: Moderately carbonated and medium-heavy in body. I think that carbonation could be a bit lower and still this beer would work, if not work better. I feel that the carbonation here is just to aggressive, the bubbles are fine in texture, but they just attack so vigorously that I think it takes away from the beer a bit. At first its fine, its after the brew's been in the mouth a bit, somewhere around mid palate that they all aggressively break out and assualt the palate. I think it could be toned down a bit, but by no means is this a fault, but in my opinion it could be better. This is an extremely drinkable beer, and dangerous especially on a day such as this. 60 some degrees in the middle of summer, breezy out, refreshing air, the smell of fall in the would be real easy to get real wasted easily with this one in hand. I'll definitely enjoy the rest of these. For me, on a day like this this beer is just as a good novel that takes you away, away from reality for just a escape the real world for a while. Awesome.

 2,545 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber color with a foamy head that fades away rather quickly but leaves a few dots and dashes

Smell: Toffee, stone fruit and vanilla

Taste: Opens with a big toffee flavor that adds a stone fruit and oak character, at first, and then a citrusy aspect by mid-palate, all laden with undertones of alcohol; after the swallow, the toffee sweetness and vanilla returns to mellow out the other flavors

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low carbonation

Drinkability: A very fine example of an old ale; not quite chewy enough to be a barleywine, but filled with complexity

 595 characters

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

Presentation: 12oz brown screw cap bottle, nice label with best by date clearly marked

Appearance: Nice dark burnt orange beer with lots of very fine sediment in suspension and a very nice creamy ivory cap with good retention

Smell: There are HUGE malt tones here, burnt sugar (as in creme brulee), a bit of fruity alcoholic esters as well as some baking spice...this is sweet and's almost like liquid sticky toffee pudding...awesome

Taste: VERY sweet sticky toffee pudding, with big warming alcohol and malts, dark brown sugar, and some dark fruit as well...a bit of drier toasty malt on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Big, rich, and smooth

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: This is a great English-style Old's got absolutely fantastic aromas, some really nice flavors, and overall makes me glad it's getting to be winter brew time...this is the way I like my Old Ales: Malt bombs where the hops stay in the background. I'm looking forward to aging one or two of these and seeing how it changes with time.

 1,031 characters

Photo of natasharai
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured vigorously to achieve a very small tan creamy head that dissipated leaving some lacing at the top of my glass. The beer is pretty clear with a reddish orange brown color and very small particles floating in the glass.

Smell: Very sweet, strong nutty roasted malt, nice caramel/toasted marshmallow sweet aroma, sappy pine, sweet fruit like pears and apples. Nice yeasty biscuit toward the end.

Taste: Very sweet, caramel malt, roasted nuts, roasted marshmallow, some pine bitterness, no alcohol flavor at all.

Mouthfeel: Thick body, quite syrupy, nice amount of carbonation, slight hop tingle, very small touch of dry feeling, then leaves mouth really sticky.

Overall: good drinkability, especially considering the ABV. Awfully sweet but still good, the sweetness has a nice roasty/toasty component which makes it more interesting.

 857 characters

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

Founders Curmudgeon
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a Harpoon Leviathan tulip glass

I let this beer sit for about 15 minutes before I starting drinking it Pours a light brown color. Reminds me of the color Lipton tea. A thin white lace forms around the top circle of the beer.

An array of different scents in the nose. Maybe some whisky or rum whiffs too. Sugary sweetness.

Super juicy caramel malts. We're talking major sugary sweetness with a rum raisin and vanilla bean combination. Dark fruits like prunes and figs.

Some initial sips are a tad rough, in the sense of a hard liquor swig from a Maker's Mark drink. Yet, the complexity of the beer (especially) as it warms, becomes a warming monster at 9.3% ABV. More flavors of light milk chocolate too. An enjoyable and flavorful old ale.

 792 characters

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

355ml bottle bought online from

Poured a deep coppery amber colour. Mocha head poured thick and foamy then faded very quickly to almost nothing - maybe just a light ring around the edge... barely any carbonation bubbles... very light lacing lines...

Aroma - Strong sweet caramel / toffee maltiness mixed with decent woody and oaky notes, marmalade, toasted bread, quite nutty, strong vanilla, stewed fruits (figs, raisin, some overripe banana), banoffee pie, brown lemonade,

Taste - Good balance of oakiness mixed with toffee and caramel... lots of toasted bread, butterscotch and vanilla, dried fruits (raisins, dates), rum, again some orange marmalade, earthy, light grassy hops...

M&D - Smooth and fairly creamy with a little sharpness coming through... medium / full bodied... a sipper at 9.3%

Overall - A pretty good example of an old ale... well worth a try

 889 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper with a nice white head. The aroma is that of dark and tart fruits mixed with sweet malt. The taste is quite sweet with a little bit of bread. A bit of the fruity sweetness as well. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is very nice, and becomes a lovely sipper as it warms up.

 324 characters

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

Saw this on the shelves on a recent trip back to MI, haven't had it so I had to pick it up. Poured from the bottle into a mini snifter beer is a clear, deep ruby-orange color with a thin head comprised of many fine bubbles which quickly dissipates to just a thin ring around the snifter. Small bits of lacing are left around the glass. The nose is slightly subdued with sweet dark fruit like raisins and figs dominating and slight fusel alcohol also present. The taste has another dimension of fruity complexity, slightly sweet with lots of dextrins, bittered almost to balance but still slightly sweet. The mouthfeel is full bodied with an almost dead carbonation and a dry, alcohol finish. As far as drinkability goes, this is definitely a sipper. A good beer for a night cap sitting by a fire on a cold winters evening.

 822 characters

Photo of Marcrates
3.59/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Pours a dark, amber brown. It appears thick, with a thin creamy head.

Smell - Smells sweet and sugary, with a hint of raisin?

Taste - A little thick and "syrupy" for my taste. It isn't a bad taste, but it is definitely a bit like molasses. The after taste has a little bite, but it quickly fades and is a little anti climactic.

Mouthfeel - Besides smell, this is the best trait of this beer. Feels creamy, rich, and full.

Drinkability - If you like thick and sugary drinks, you may give drinkability on this one a higher rating. For me, however, I can only drink one of these at a time. This isn't a beer a would choose for a session.

Overall I can't say I hate or love it. I would definitely have it again, but only when I'm in the mood for something sugary.

 778 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

czoch75 sent me a bottle of this last year, and I figured this fine Sunday is a worthy occasion to crack it. IIRc, this is the 2008 release

The pour is a mostly clear ruby red, marred by a slightly careless pour that results in a bunch of floating particles in the beer. A thin, tan head rises briefly, settling into a ring rather quickly.

Sweet, rich and malty on the nose, with plums, raisins, rum, brown sugar, beets, honey and alcohol. Quite deep and rich, and thoroughly acceptable. Mild oxidation is noticeable with a combination of sherry and cardboard. Slight fusel aroma is present, with the spicy character associated with it.

Opens sweet, with a more straightforward sugary sweet character with honey and brown sugar dominating. The fruit character that I picked up on the nose isn't as noticeable, and there's a mild date character present. Rum and raisins with a spicy rye character is noticeable. I'm getting a little bit of toffee before the finish that's a sweet with a bit of alcohol and a little bitterness that's burnt caramel in character.

Medium-full in body with an excellent, lush, creamy carbonation, this beer feels pretty awesome on the palate. The finish is a little disappointing in that it isn't very flavorful.

A definite sipper, I'm actually liking this.

 1,290 characters

Photo of Traquairlover
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Very hazy amber with only a slight head -- orange on pour but settling out to an off white ring of bubbles around edge of glass. Low carbonation.

S & T = Smells of maple syrup, coconut and vanilla, with tastes of the same. I get a really strong flavor of coconut and a hint of sweet pineapple, almost like a Pina Colada. Also some flavors of spices and hay. Relatively sweet, good long finish.

M = Medium-heavy body, very good mouthcoating, low carbonation not quite as luxurious as I would like, but decent.

D = It tastes good and goes down easily but it also gets a bit cloying, so I cannot recommend it as having high drinkability.

 676 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Murky. Hazy. Turbid. Tons of shit in suspension. The head lingers for a surprising amount of time, given the style and strength.

Fruity aroma. Dates. Sugar, brown. Earth. Soil. Wood. The trees and forest. Pine needles. Spicy. Caramel. Much aroma.

Taste strong. Rye bread. Earth and soil. Strong. Alcoholic. Caramel. Much flavor. Thick. Fruit. Rum. Raisins. Rum raisins. Bitterness. Tannins. Grain. This is beer. Hello.

 420 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,631 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.