Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

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4,819 Ratings

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: English 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,819 |  Reviews: 1,343
Photo of maundythirsty
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tiny bubbles, but hardly any of them on top of this medium brown beer, which is almost opaque. Just a bit of golden glow around the edges of my glass.

Smells of toasty saltines, whiskey and healthy malt with that touch of strawberry jam that I like so much about old ales.

Woo. Sipping bourbon and sweet toffee malt taste, but barely out in front of the 9.3 percent ABV. Just the tiny bit of bitter in there, but it's drowned out. Malt. Alcohol.

It's a tongue full. Leans toward think in the mouth, and brings the heat with just a sense of the sparse carbonation.

Big, big beer. A mistake on this evening, parked in front of a fan while braving the last of a humid 90-degree day. But don't go far, old man. I will be looking for you the moment the snow falls.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$3.79 for a 12oz bottle.9.8% ABV per the label. Pours out to a cloudy mahogany, barely eeking out a small yellow head despite a vigorous pour. Carbonation is mild with a light pssht with the cap release. The aroma is rich with sweet husken amber malts, dark fruits like rotting apples and black cherries, a distinct and quite strong nutmeg note,sour milk when swirled and faint piney hops. The mouthfeel is smooth with a rich, dense body...I would have liked a bit more carbonation though. Taste begins with light piney hops, followed by tobacco and husky, raisiny-sweet amber malts with a suggestion of roast barley and rum, caramel and nougat. Bitterness is mild for the style, but well balanced. Hints of bourbon in the finish with an aftertaste of coconut and vanilla. Alcohol is definitely there in warmth, but not in taste.

This is an interesting beer. I don't like the nutmeg note at all and it loses a point for that. I'd be interested in trying this one in another year or two and seeing how it matures. Recommended but not at the top of my list for the style.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky light mahogany, with a moderately building off- white head.
Bashfull carbonation recedes to a ring around the glass quickly, with only a trace of lace.
Aromatics start off with a "wow". Substantial amounts of bourbon, oak, cherries, brown sugar, and vanilla.
Boozy and rich, fruity and approaching vineous.
Alcohol is warming and the Curmudgeon becomes more approachable as he warms up.
Thickish and syrupy mouthfeel, slick and chewy.
Pallet is a bit brash and aggresive.. Subtle, is not.
Loads of residual malt, alcohol-soaked fruit, oaky tannins, toffee, caramel, and bourbon.
Bitterness to check, and alcohol is apparent and flattering, not overpowering.
Finishes a bit sweetish with warming bourbon notes and an oaky dryness.

A large example of the style, and should benefit greatly from extended cellaring.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Old Curmudgeon pours out a hazy brown color topped with a medium sized head. The aroma is tropical fruits, dates, spices, and bourbon characteristics like oak, vanilla, and coconut. Sweet, malty flavor with lots of coconut and fruit. Finishes harsh and metallic. Perhaps this beer could use some aging to mellow it a bit. The flavor is spicier than I like, but it's still a good flavor. Mouthfeel is medium. Decent drinkability. This is an interesting beer, but with all the quality old ales and barleywines out there, there are better choices.

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

Aroma is pineapple (heavily) accented liquor that I assume is bourbon, but could pass for rum in a crowded bar. The aroma is quite unusual though and curiously it is more easily discerned sniffing from the bottle than from my snifter. In the bottle the aroma is heavily bourbon with some pineapple understones. In the glass the two mesh equally and a bit of floral hops lays beneath. The body is opaque and brown/amber in color. It had a head the size of a quarter, but only very briefly. The fore is a blast of smooth sweet malts and bourbon...lots of bourbon. Oak, vanilla (combining to coconut) and the faintest traces of sweet tropical fruits follow. I want to know where these bourbon barrels came from. Tastes a lot like a a bourbon with melted ice, but the thick palate and smooth malt undertones keep it from getting too far down the road away from the realm of beer. It’s a heady drink and I swear I get a lingering pineapple/ malibu rum flavor in the far aftertase. A sipper for sure.

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Photo of irishmoss
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured an amber brown that was a little hazy into a tulip glass with a thin tan head that evaporated rather quickly. The aroma was a swift kick in face, scotch and malt. The taste was a little more complex, like a good scotch. There were hints of vanilla, dark fruit, and whiskey barrel aged flavor that was unexpectedly amazing. The mouthfeel was nice and full with little carbonation. This is absolutely a beer to be sipped, with the flavors and high alcohol presence, one could easily forget that this is beer and not scotch/whiskey.

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Photo of nortmand
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper pour with a thin off white head.

Resiny hops and whisky dominate the nose.

Sweet through midtongue, ends with a lingering bitter kick and an alcohol burn.

Fantastic old ale, smooth and light carbonation, strange release date, though. Would age nicely.

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Photo of taez555
4.89/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured an amber/brown body with an almost non existent tan head.

Nose was simple breathtaking. Whiskey, wood, oak, burnt oak, whiskey barrels, malt, rich malt, cherry and vanilla fruit smells. I could sit back and just smell this beer all day.

Taste was very near to the nose but even better. Rich malt and very smooth. Whiskey, cherries, raisins, vanilla, malt, oak, some slight charred flavors and some very very mild touches of chocolate. It's so perfectly balanced from start to finish without a big hop kick or bitterness. Just wave after wave of rich malt, fruits and whiskey.

Wow!!!! What an amazing beer. I dig the oak aged thing, but this by far one of the best. It's so well balanced I could drink it all day long.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had from the bottle at Sunset in Allston, Ma. Presented to me and then poured in a standard mug the beer was a hazy mohoganny colored brown with one-finger of head and few outright signs of carbonation.

The nose is a health dose of malt, sugary sweetness, some hop character and dark chocolate. A very strong coconut smell as well. I was rather suprised by this, the beer smelled readily of fresh coconut.

The tatse has an immidiate alcoholic burn up front with a sweet maltiness that coats the palate. Some odd fruit flavors coming thru and the prevailing coconut is in the taste as well. Interestingly, this is not entirely undessirable when balanced with the beer's other flavors. A bit of a mounds bar type sensation with the coconut and dark chocolate flavors. Smooth to the finish with a firm body. A sturdy malt backbone and consistant alcohol stay throughout the sample.

Firm (somewhat heavy) body with low levels of carbonation.

An interesting beer and one with some interesting flavors going on. Alcohol is apparent throughout the sample, but this remains a good sipper. I enjoyed it, but for the retail price in MA, will probably be unlikely to by it in the store.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz single, Riley's $3.99 ( i should note that I am able to consume this because hoppymeal sent me 1 as a trade extra, which i put in the cellar to replace this one)

appearance: poured from a seemingly appropriately labeled stubby bottled into a chalice...body is a deep garnet-mahogany, very little head to speak of and no retention...cola-esque

smell: quite interesting...smells of the makers mark i was sipping on last night at cafe montmarte...big bourbon aromas, heavy oak, vanilla, sweet caramel malt, fig, dark fruit

taste: Clearly you have to be a bourbon drinker to be a fan of this beer (which i am). initial flavours are strong bourbon, big oak undertones, touch of vanilla extract, toffee, fig, raisin and alcohol soaked plum, licorice, pine, sweet caramel. I like it. It brings a lot of different things to the style but it lacks a lot of characteristics as well

mouthfeel: smooth, bitterness left behind, alcohol is a touch 'hot'

drinkability: pretty good

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out to a tea like hazy ruby color with a small head of tan foam that quickly dissipated. Aromas of whiskey, malt, vanilla, fermented grain, earth. Nice. Taste is fair; complex notes of whiskey and wood, with hints of burnt malts permeate the palate. Touches of raw grain and vanilla are noted on the finish. Mouthfeel is thick and heavy. Drinkabilty is fair. One is more than enough for me. The bourbon flavors are too overpowering, making this more of a liquor like experience, than a beer like experience.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

first off, whoever took the 'bottle photo' is an art pimp. the trees are great. what a nice touch! this bottle was snatched up at julio's in mass.

pours a cloudy blood red into my rapscallion snifter. accentuated gently by dense foam rings and sticky, sparse lacing. aroma carries lots of bourbony booze and fusel-boosted yeast mutations. vanilla lingers in the air trapped by the tulip. old ale at its oldest, most crotchety.

the woody cream character really translates strongly into the dominant flavor of this beer, not too far from what i expect an old ale to be but somewhat one-dimensional. perhaps its not warm enough, let's wait and see...

after the crowd-friendly southampton old ale, this beer maintains an adversely crotchety attitude with a starchy, raw malt profile that doesn't quite invite the same level of drinkability. the flavors are all there in a sublime richness.. however this IS your grandpa's old ale. a cigar would be nice right about now. toasted vegetal huskiness meets caramelized burnt sugars in a buffalo trace barrel, producing some interesting effects.

what do i think overall? tough call. like a stinky old man, you have to respect the work that went into its culmination, regardless of how gritty his current situation might be. recommended, oddly.

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Photo of BillyB
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, hazy color with no head and no carbonation.

Strong aromas of alcohol, whiskey, oaky, vanilla.

Strong whiskey taste. Very interesting and complex. Notice some vanilla, caramel.

Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy. Strong alcohol warmth.

At first I was overwhelmed by the huge alcohol taste and aroma but as I sipped the beer became more complex.
Wouldn't drink too many in a sitting.

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Photo of mentor
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by deejaydan as part of BIF33. Thanks for the opportunity! Hard pour gets almost no head. Cloudy orange brown. Smells oranges, oaky, and caramel. Alcohol carries vanilla.

Tastes gentle oaky on a nice malt sweet. Vanilla and caramel. A touch of sherry. Oranges and cherry. Simple sweet and tasty. Gentle and clean alcohol sting. Thick creamy mouthfeel and almost no carbonation. Nothing special, just a solid offering.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Old Ales brewed in America tend to be little more than Barleywines; alternatively, British Old Ales taste more like sherry than they do beer.

This offering is a hybrid of the two styles, and it is most unusual. There is a noticable hop presence, not overpowering, but unmistakably there coupled with strong nutty, oxidized notes.

The end result is actually vaguely whisky-like.

It tastes like somebody mixed Bigfoot Barleywine with Sandeman Oloeroso, in about a 50/50 split.

A bridge between the two beer worlds of America and Britain. Leave it to Founders to find a unique twist on an old style.

Interesting though it may be, I'm not sure I could see myself buying this again.

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Photo of krantul
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

As we can perhaps discern from the label, this is an unapologetic, strong beer. It pours a dense, cloudy brown color, and has an oaky, almost scotch-like scent. It tastes like an english ale with a dollop of good whisky; although it has a certain pervasive boozy flavor, one that is certainly somewhat unbalanced, it's appropriate for the style. This is a full-bodied beer, almost to the point of chewiness. It's not what I'd call eminently drinkable, because of its kick; I found myself sipping it absently, like a neat whisky.

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Photo of granger10
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a tawny amber with barely a head or carbonation to show for it. Lightly cloudy with a glowing precense.

Aroma is strong on oak and vanilla with bourbon also running in there. A raisin fruitlike sweetness sorrounds the oak. A little more of a lighter fruitiness comes out as this opens a bit.

Taste is also dominated by the bourbon flavors. Oak and vanilla accompany the bourbon but the alcohol does seem dominate, though it is quite nice. A figgy sweetness is at the top. Toffee and a bit of butterscotch form a base under the bourbon flavors. A resiny, earthy hop flavor comes in the finish and wipes out the sweetness but not the alcohol flavors. A bit medicinal in the end but I'm left with a lingering citrus or pine taste.

Full bodied and slick in the mouth though the carbonation was quite soft. I know this should not be too carbonated but I would have liked just a bit more. This beer took me quite a decent amount of time to drink. It's definitely a nice beer to enjoy and sip but 12 oz is definitely fine enough.

Founder's really gets their flavors out strong and this bourbon beer is no exception. Some good complexity but end the end the bourbon dominates. If you like bourbon try this, if not, don't.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy chestnut in color with a creamy tan head and quite a bit of lacing. Nose is doughey, with wafts of rum, raisin, whiskey, and slight citrus underneath it all. Taste is very nice, smooth and well balanced. The very same notes are present on the palate as in the nose. I'm quite impressed with the sweet to bitterness balance as old ales are easily made out of balance quite often. I think I just may have to go get more of this to lay down for a year or more.


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Photo of merlin48
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served slightly chilled into a snifter, this really hits the spot as an old ale. Appearance is a rusty mahogany, quite hazy. Very little head, as little carbonation is apparent. Aroma boasts smoky Scotch whiskey and burnt caramel. Wafts of vanilla suggest a vague fruitiness that I cannot pinpoint. More smokiness hits the nose as it warms. Very woodsy and earthy. Interesting!
Mouthfeel is creamy, and has a charred oak feel. Charcoal certainly comes to mind.
Very much an old ale in taste. Malty toffee is nice and sweet, but tastes burnt(in a pleasant way). Boozy Scotch and Bourbon, with a hint of good Brandy. Oak woodsiness adds interest, and there is a nice bitter hops presence that is earthy and woodsy. Overripe McIntosh apples provide the fruity component here, almost overly bitter and near rotten(but not). Very nice execution.
This one really shows a lot of complexity at room temperature. Very nice sipper. The smokiness evokes the taste of burning a caramel apple over an outdoor campfire, deep in the Upper Penninsula woods. Age a few of these and save for deep winter!! You'll be glad you did.

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

Orange brown, and despite its dark opacity, I could still see lighter floaties suspended in the murk. The head wasn't much to speak of after a few minutes.

Wild, wild stuff. Smells like murky candy, whatever that means. But that is what popped into my head, and it seems fitting. Like camp cotton candy.

You can taste the suger before the beer even hits your lips. Thick and fruity, it is improving my mood by the sip.

A sipper fo' sho' because it is so thick and slightly syrupy. Would probably age wonderfully.

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

A big beer for sure.

The appearance was dark mahogany with a light head that laced the glass slightly.

The smell had notes of a smoky scotch. Interesting stuff so far.

The taste was of vanilla, bourbon, coconut, and creme. A great old ale, and recognizable to the style. Alcohol is present and noticable, but not totally overwhelming. The mouthfeel was smooth. The drinkability is as good as a beer with this ABV can be.

Great stuff. Founders has not dissapointed me yet, with their beers ranging from solid to excellent.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

hazed slightly murky dark brown beer with very little head. pretty much what one expects from an old ale.
the aroma contains tangy vanilla, caramel, something like a roasted coconut, soft bourbon, toffee, a little booze, that nice "aged" aroma (don't know how better to describe it, but it's not oxidation), oak and some fruity vinous characteristics maybe like raisins... in no particular order.
the taste moves in about exactly the direction i want it to judging form the smell. vanilla bourbon oak, but not in the overdone, masking way that it seems to be used sometimes. caramel and toffee make their appearance spiced raisin flavors here to,but pretty minimal taking a back seat to a lot of maltyness.
soft, slick coating mouthfeel, medium bodied, with minimal carbonation.
good drinkability the alcohol is present, but never burns or becomes abrasive, it just stays pleasant and warming.

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Photo of czoch75
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried this one last night and was expecting a little more but still somewhat satisfied. This one really packs a punch! ABV states 9.3 but feels much more than that.

A: poured into glass and noticed a cloudy amber color. Absolutley no head retention whatsoever and looked a little syrupy.

S: smell was really sweet and a bit of the bourbon comes through.

T: really smooth to start off and a bit of a warming to it. Can really pick up the bourbon taste to it, never had one this prominent before but rather tasty!

M: a heavy drink, little carbonation but just right. Aftertaste guessed it, bourbon/whiskey or spirit like.

D: this is a good one to sip on, a little over the top on the Bourbon taste but pretty good. Should probably let sit for a year to mellow out the taste. I think I will go buy some more before it's too late and let it sit in my cellar.

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Photo of blodgetm
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders is one of the few things that makes me glad to live in Grand Rapids. The brewery is absolutely fantastic, and for producing such great beers as this I give them two thumbs up. The brewers at Founders have been working on this brew for a couple years now, finely tweaking it until absolutely perfect to put into a bottle. Well, here it is, Curmudgeon old ale is definately the result of years of planning and tinkering.

A: medium brown and unfiltered

S: definite sweetness to the nose due to the malt bill, but also presence of bourbon and a spice of oak

T: a very complex and malty brew, with high levels of whiskey/bourbon taste and a small amount of maybe anise towards the end

M: wonderful, nice and rich, heavy bodied beer with a fine carbonation

D: I would drink this brew all night if I could, but with the high ABV and price, it gets alittle hard.

I would recommend this beer to anyone who fancies high gravity beer with that fantastic bourbon creme taste

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Photo of maxpower
2.88/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle pours a dark amber color with a nice off white head with large bubbles that leaves some lacing in my glass. Strong bourbon aromas, vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors, a bit to strong for me. Full bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, finishes dry. The whiskey flavor is about all I get from this.

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Curmudgeon from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 4,819 ratings