Curmudgeon | Founders Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
4,831 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,831 |  Reviews: 1,346
Photo of expatsteve
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky red brown color. Pours a 1/2 inch head with heavy cover and lacing. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Smells like a fresh loaf of whole wheat bread, with toffee, raisins and a hint of booze. Some nice chocolate and cocoa developments as it warms.

Taste: Smooth chocolate, cocoa and honey, with a nice hops/booze finish. A little plum following an upfront breadiness. Nice raisins in the finish. Nice balance complements grainy front and middle palates. A little pine and juniper in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation makes for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel that balances the flavors of the beer. Nice bitterness in the aftertaste

Drinkability: Nice, rich and boozy, with great malts and a nice biting finish. Definitely a beer that I'll come back to, particularly as the weather turns colder.

 818 characters

Photo of ppoitras
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/4" tan head over the cloudy reddish brown brew. Head quickly fades to an uneven layer of bubbles, and lacing is average, both somewhat expected for the style. Aroma is vanilla oaky alcohol, possibly over the top, but the variety of flavors is enough to possibly overcome the somewhat exceptional intensity. Taste is also vanilla and oak, with strong alcohol throughout and a warming close. Wish there was a bit more of a malt sweetness background to support all the strong flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth, even if the drinkability is somewhat limited by the flavor harshness, in my mind. Age might help this mellow a bit and make a winner.

 749 characters

Photo of Malted
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a barley wine glass.

Appearance: Deep dark brown with a tint of red. There appears to be some floating particulate matter (yeast?).

Smell: At first I as unimpressed with the malty herbal smell of the beer, but as I took more and more sips I began to notice that as I put the beer to my nose I smelled candy that made my mouth water for each sip. I still can’t place what candy I am smelling and it is driving me crazy. Cotton candy? No, I don’t think so… Caramels? Hmmm… Perhaps… In any case, I now think the smell is great and with each sniff I long for the next sip.

Taste- Much the same as the smell, the taste starts out malty and herbal. As the beer warms up it releases more of the candy taste. I can’t place the herbal taste either (what a lackluster job my palette is doing today), but it compliments the sweet candy taste.

Mouth feel- creamy and smooth.

Drinkability- This one hits you hard on the alcohol. 9.3%! But mmmm, you really don’t taste it at all. It goes down smooth and leaves you wanting more.

Overall- A wonderful beer. Flavorful, complex, and worth buying another even at its steep price tag of $3.79… I can’t really ask for more.

 1,215 characters

Photo of swhitt
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

I'd had old stock ale before but this is much tastier in my opinion. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter.

The smell is delicious, rummy and fruity with maybe a hint of vanilla. It is a sweet smell. The taste is very similar, rummy and fruity with some chocolate and malt. I like this so much! Too bad it is so expensive.

The weakness is really the cost - $15 for a four pack. If it were cheaper it would make it into my daily rotation.

 461 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders continues to impress me. This beer is amazing. Pours to a nice dark brownish amber, almost black. The head is off-white, and fairly thin. Recedes to a ring and a film, as to be expected from a high gravity old ale.

The smell is awesome. Very complex. Has notes of bourbon, sea salt, black anise, and a nice sweet maltiness.

The flavor is just as great. Starts off with a nice sweet molasses flavor, followed by a brilliant vanilla and oak bourbon flavor. A bit briny, with a sea salt flavor; but unlike other briny old ales I've had, this one doesn't taste the least bit spoiled. None of that soy sauce flavor associated with brininess. Simply amazing

The body is fairly full. Starts off with an intense sweetness but drops off with an intense dry sea salty flavor. Surprisingly little aftertaste. Nonetheless, if I put this beer down for too long, I begin to crave it.

It could stand to be a little more drinkable, but that would probably take away from the wonder that is this beer. Founders is quickly becoming one of my favorite brewers.

 1,062 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a murky brown color with no head and no lace.

S: The smell is of caramel, malt and alcohol.

T: The taste is sweet and boozy. It has the caramelized malt flavor & dark fruits along with the alcohol warmth. For all of its sweetness, it leaves a slightly bitter after-taste.

M: Very smooth for a beer with such a high ABV, light carbonation, medium-to-heavy body, finish is dry but leaves a little stickiness behind.

O: This one is a sipper and not a pounder but I could sip it for a while. It doesn’t fill you up but gets you going in a hurry.

I had been looking forward to trying an Ole Ale and I was looking forward to trying something from Founders, so I killed two proverbial birds with one proverbial stone. I’m now looking forward to trying more of both.

 846 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured very little head and disappeared in seconds. Color is a very deep caramel brown. Small strings of lace appeared as the glass emptied.

There's a sweetness to the aroma that reminds very much of pineapple. Malt is there but dominated by the prickly, citrusy element and also some rotting dark fruits. Alcohol comes on stronger as it warms.

Flavor is an earthy mixture of malt and hops, still reminding and dominated by pineapple. Also some overripe banana. A little grassy and recalling watermelon schnapps as it warms.

Buoyant and effervescent in the mouth, and only slightly syrupy, with enough thickness to give it a nice heft.

This is a unique ale. That exotic sweetness will have you tasting things you don't usually get in beer (to my senses pineapple and watermelon liqueur), but it maintains good balance and depth too. Glad to have experienced this one...thanks to BA jabocu for the trade.

 909 characters

Photo of Brian700
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice brown with just a little bit of orangish tint to it. There is no real head to speak of, just a little bit of a ring around my glass.

The aroma is of sweet malt, mild moasses.

The flavor is of sweet malt, possibly Maris Otter. There is a mild barrel aged flavor to this beer along with some esters, caramel, and alcohol presence.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable beer but I would recommend aging this one out for a while. It isn't bad right now but I definately thing it would improve over time.

 578 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.22/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Fat Tire snifter. No head forms. A cloudy, iced tea color beverages emerges. The faintest wisp of head is on top along with a small ring around the top of the beverage.

Smells strongly of bourbon whiskey. Smells almost like a bourbon and coke with a dash of coke. Some malty characteristics. Slight hints of vanilla and banana. Stong alcohol aroma as well. Smells a bit overwhelming but complex.

Bourbon and alcohol. Definitely needs to mellow.

Full bodied, dry finish. This was my first Old Ale, and I dont think I was ready for it. I love scotch, but was in the mood for beer. One of these, and I'll tap out, thank you.

Thanks to flyingbison for this Curmudgeon.

 703 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I always feel bad when I rate an Old Ale that isn't very old. But, since it is on the shelves, I will drink, and I will rate. Gulp....yep, it needs more time. There are some really nice flavors going on, but the beer is everywhere. The nose brings out everything from candied malts to spicy hops to dark fruits to caugh syrup. The tastes closely mimic the aromas, but with emphasis on a candy sweetness, harsh alcohols, and raisons and licorice. The beer feels a bit too hot and scrubbing in the mouth with sugary stickiness. It will be nice to see how the beer develops over the next year or two, but it's not ready yet. Thanks Clvand0 for the bottle.

 652 characters

Photo of Backer2004
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

How cool is this? My mom, of all people, just happens to bring a four pack of this down while visiting for the weekend. Nice, huh?

Anyway, since she also brought a few others worth cellaring (Stone Imperial, AleSmith Speedway, etc.), I figured I'd drink one and leave the rest for at least every six months to a year space between and compare here or below.

This is my first beer where I said, whoa, this really needs to mellow out a bit. The alcohol was just intense and the flavors took some time and warmer temperature to escape. I really did enjoy this but even more importantly, look forward to trying this again . . . and again . . . and again.

 656 characters

Photo of geexploitation
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and coffee colored with minimal head. Bright mahogany highlights. Assertive aroma of bourbon-vanilla and chocolate-covered bananas. Sumptuous. Hits the palate with authority. Bourbon, vanilla, bananas again, along with sweet cream and coffee all make appearances. Just a touch of hop bitterness shows up in the finish. Very thick on the palate, as one would expect. Quite rich, flavorful, interesting old ale. Up there with the best of the American microbrewed old ales.

 482 characters

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.

 772 characters

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.

 1,070 characters

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.

 845 characters

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.

 561 characters

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.

 995 characters

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.

 541 characters

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.

 267 characters

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.

 743 characters

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.

 1,187 characters

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

 985 characters

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.

 513 characters

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.

 1,296 characters

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.

 409 characters

Curmudgeon from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 4,831 ratings