Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

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4,800 Ratings

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,800 |  Reviews: 1,335
Photo of atrocity
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of jgunther71
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to czoch75 for this one! Thanks Clint, enjoying this as the Saints/Bears game goes to OT!

Pours an effervescent caramel with some sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Superb oaky bourbon notes, then a a whiff of dirt??

T: Bourbon soaked toffee, some caramel & a bit of smokeyness up front. Dryness dominates as this warms, along with boozey butterscotch & marmalade, vanilla & drambuie (sic). Finishes with some boozey oak, & butterscotch

MF: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation & some stickyness, thickens up as it warms

Drinks pretty easy, considering the style, ABV & dryness. This was on the verge of greatness, but needed more body or aging to pull it together

 696 characters

Photo of nathanmiller
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

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

10 ounce goblet - $9.00 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Dispensed into a simple, all-purpose goblet a hazed, mahogany-hued body with a scant, white head.

Smell: A rich, invitingly malty nose smelling of caramel, chunks of toast, and brown sugar stirred up into cake batter. Fruity notes of citrus, cherries, and green raisins punctuated by some stinging alcoholic wafts.

Taste: The lush, tempting sweetness of heavily caramelized sugars with additional tastes of toasted bread, light brown sugar, and spiced holiday cake. The fruitiness from the aroma is well-represented in a taste of raisins marinated in cherry liqueur and spiced with a bit of dried orange peel. Moderate bitterness provides a bit of balance, though this one remains fairly on the sweet side of things. Soft, sweet finish with plenty of alcohol warmth rolling in.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a mouthfeel both smooth and a bit sticky. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Bold AND beautiful. A quality sipper, even on a day in South filled with 100-degree heat and 100-percent humidity.

 1,079 characters

Photo of krome
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of BEER88
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of duceswild
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky brown color with a very small head upon pouring, but it quickly reduces to some sparse bubbles on top. Little bits of particulate floating in this one. Decent lacing. with some forming on the opposite side I was drinking from.

S: Deep caramel, some butter, butterscotch, raisins, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: The taste is full of caramelized malt and dark fruits, mostly raisins, but also a little bit of fig and prune. Not as much alcohol as I was expecting based on the aroma. Slight butterscotch flavor on the backend.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather smooth with a good level of carbonation. Slightly sticky finish.

O: A slow sipper for sure. Pretty good, but not my favorite. Probably the first Founders beer I haven't really liked.

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Photo of atlbravsrno1
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Zaphog
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky melted toffee with blurry orange and amber edges. The pour resulted in scant head formation, just one finger of brown sugar colored cream that doesn't look as though it's interested in leaving much lace. That's okay, the beer itself more than makes up for it.

I like the nose, but it could be deeper and more complex. Maybe warming will help open things up a little. I smell earthy caramel, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. I've read that the 2006 vintage (this bottle) was aged in bourbon barrels. Unless something changes on the palate, I have my doubts about the barrel-aged bona fides of this batch.

Thankfully, Curmudgeon takes on more of a winning personality on the taste buds. I was beginning to think that Founders lost their touch for brewing great beer. No worries on that front. I love what I'm tasting at this point and should be blown away once the slight chill is lost. It tastes like one of those ales that likes to be at or near room temperature.

A prodigious amount of caramel malt is present, resulting in a 'sticky toffee pudding' flavor the likes of which I've rarely encounted. Accessory flavors include dark rum-soaked raisins and dark brown sugar-crusted bitter orange peel. What a fantastic confluence of sweet and bitter. Sweet wins handily, by the way.

Alcohol is beautifully integrated, while still providing a power and a presence that all old ales (the good ones anyway) need to have. I'm still reminded of rich, mellow dark rum, but thanks to the caramelized sugar and vanilla notes, I'm no longer scoffing at the possibility that this bottle is from one of the bourbon barrel-aged batches. Say that five times fast.

The mouthfeel is dangerously close to perfection. I've had bigger old ales and I've had sticker old ales, but I've haven't had too many that possessed this combination of size, smoothness and silkiness. This stuff is so easy to drink that I've almost drained the entire bottle when I thought I was only halfway through.

Curmudgeon is yet another outstanding beer from Michigan's best brewery (sorry Mr. Bell). There are very few beer artisans who nail each and every style like these guys do. That's why they're on my list of 'Top-10 American Craft Breweries' and will be for the foreseeable future. If you want a delicous old ale that is pretty close to the gold standard for the style, seek this one out.

 2,366 characters

Photo of dfhhead25
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Thanks to lnashsig for this bottle.

Appearance - Deep amber body with little head and only a bit of lacing. Sediment floating about as I look throuh the body. Tough for these types of beers to really look appealing.

Smell - Apples! I smell lots of apples. It kind of reminds me of Short's Good Samaritan. It has an earthy maltiness to the aroma. Not a sweetness that I expect.

Taste - The taste really follows the aroma, but with the addition of hops in the finish. Apple flavor at the start with other malt flavors. A bit of caramel and some brown sugar, but it's definitely an apple fruit flavor I get most. The finish is an odd bitterness that I do not expect from an Old Ale. The hoppiness pushes it towards the barleywine category, but not too much.

Mouthfeel - Good carbonation for the style. The bitterness in the finish is the lingering taste. It's also a bit astringent. Not my favorite characteristic.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting from an Old Ale, but not bad. The apples aren't what I want in an Old Ale. I want strong malts, caramel and vanilla. Still, I didn't seem to have any difficulty finding a home for the beer once it got into the glass.

 1,211 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the stubby 12oz into a snifter. Picked this bottle up at Al's of Hampden.

A beautiful copper color w/ good clarity and visibly carbonated w/ 1/2 inch of light beige caps the ale w/ a tight bead and good amount of lace sticks. The aroma of sweet malt w/ hoppy esters and stone fruit blend with the mild pine element and slight citrus w/ a light alcohol scent. The feel is highly carbonated and pretty bitter for the style w/ moderately high level of sweetness w/ a warming of alcohol throughout.

The strong bitter note of piney hops is equalled by a strong caramel malt flavor with a candy like quality and slightly salty and acidic tinge from the high alpha hops with the flavors of alcohol and stone fruit essence. The hops have a woody character and mild acidity in the taste w/ a mild tanginess of grapefruit that is noted as it finishes. This old ale is a good beer, but I consider it slightly hop forward for the style. It is tasty and hoppy, but just misses the mark to be considered classic taste-wise. I enjoy it and the alcohol is mild which is nice, so it seem above avg all around to me.

 1,114 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 12 oz bottle that I received in a trade a long while ago, but never got around to actually trying. Served at cellar temperature in an over sized wine glass. Consumed on 07/22/2008.

Poured this one out in to the glass and it looked like a Barley Wine at first. Very hazy with a touch of sediment in the bottom. Dark amber color with some orange highlight and a minimal head. Nice side glass lacing through and a good bit of carbonation could be seen streaking up from the bottom.

The aroma was charged with alcohol. Really quite hot this surprised me. Brandy aroma was dominant. As it warmed through it did get a touch better and ended up with a nice malty aroma. Nice sweet smells of caramel and grain, some cereal like tones as well. A touch of spice in the flavor was evident right away, but the flavor was a touch hot as well until it warmed. Nice oak flavor running through here, with touches of cereal like grains and a nice all around profile. Bready in the middle with a drier, slightly hoped finish, but most of it was drown out but the rum like tasty and peppery flavor that ended it. The feel was very nice, with a good carbonation profile that just would not quite, and a medium body. A solid sipper, this one took me a bit to be able to finish as there was no way that this was going down all in one shot.

Overall a very solid beer, and a good example of the style, though I doubt this is anything that I would really seek out, as there are some much nice examples out there. Still though if it were sitting on the shelf near me I would definitely pick this one up.

 1,591 characters

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of dvmin98
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer is mildly hazy and appears orange to copper in color. The head is off white hued, measuring approximately an inch thick. A substantial amount of lacing is left on the glass.

The aroma offers malt, alcohol, oak, vanilla, banana, and rum.

The flavor is strong and complex. As prefaced in the nose, alcohol, malt, and banana are the prevalent flavors. The beer is still a bit hot, and could likely benefit from some cellar time.

The feel is medium-heavy on the palate, with alcohol content noticeable throughout. Carbonation is moderate.

Overall, a decent brew from a great brewery. This one is a good candidate for sharing a few ways.

 645 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky orange pour with a hefty amount of micro sediment floating super still through the whole body. Thin white lacing.

S - A nose full of oak bourbon barrel. Spicy ammonia like whiskey notes. Some malt sweetnes.

T - First thing is sweet oak barrel aged whiskey tang. Warming shot of alcohol and lots of oak and vanilla notes. Sweet throughout and spiced hard alcohol. Malt sweetness mellows the whiskey punch and creates a nice taste.

M - Soft and smooth on the mouth, this beer has some crispness up front. The carbonation is medium.

O - When I smelled this, I was afraid it would have too much bourbon flavor. Im really not fond of whiskey or anything of the flavor but this beer was pleasantly flavorful yet not overbearing in this regard. The sweetness balanced the bite.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tasted from draft at Emil's on February 28, 2016.

49 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tendermorsel for this bottle. I've been holding on to it for several months and have been meaning to crack it for awhile.

A: The pour is a dark, dark mahogany color with a lot of yeast floaties, and a thin ring of cream colored head.

S: The nose is quite rich with notes of sherry, dark fruit (raisins in particular), caramel, vanilla, and alcohol.

T: The sweet caramel malt is the primary flavor component with some sweet, dark fruits, vanilla, and quite a bit of alcohol. There's also a mild bitterness.

M: The body is medium with a creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

D: A very nice old ale and a good beer to sip on throughout an evening.

 655 characters

Photo of 22Blue
3.89/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Curmudgeon from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 4,800 ratings