Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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89
very good
1,270 Reviews
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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:
Old ale brewed with molasses and oak-aged.

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2005

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,270
Ratings:
4,617
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
210
Gots:
1,141
For Trade:
54
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,270 | Ratings: 4,617
Photo of hoppymcgee
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Spuyten Duyvil in Brooklyn, NY. Served in a 12oz. tulip glass.

A: Cool amber color, light for an old ale. Thin layer of a bubbly head, sticky.

S: Boozy, caramel malts, and grains.

T: Nice smooth mellow toffee notes, bitter, slightly boozy. This beer really opens up as it warms up.

M: Good carbonation, tingly and zippy on the way down (this is probably due to it being from the tap).

D: Easy to take this serving down rather quickly.

Overall, a really nice and readily available (now that Founders is in NY!) beverage.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smells sweet, malty, and rustic/earthy (the good parts of Earth). Taste sweet, malty, and a little musty. Dont get a bunch of the oak. It also comes across a little hot on the alcohol side. I know it is a strong beer, but it doesnt hide that fact well. I really think it could improve over time. If not, maybe dial it back a bit on the ABV. The alcohol is suppressing some of the flavors. It is still a very good beer that will kick you in the ass and warm you up on a cold rainy day.

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Photo of jhartley
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. into a flute glass. Bottled on 04/13/2012.

A- Poured aggressively, no head what-so-ever. No surprise with a 9.8% abv. Cloudy floating sediment through out a reddish brown body. Small tiny bubbles streaming up from the bottom. Filmy sediment left in the bottom of the bottle.

S- Malts, dark fruits. Molasses-sweet aromas coming out. Not really getting too much else.

T- Brown sugar molasses, caramel sweetness up front with a tangy bite. Booze comes out as it warms. Really like the taste of this, there's just a lot going on.

M- Smooth at first with a carbonation that is really light, some major complexity with this beer. Slight fruitiness on the tip of the tongue.

O- A real sipper here, to enjoy it ya got to take it slow, or that high ABV will put ya down quick! This is not a "first beer or the night" beer, definitely last one of the night to enjoy it. Really picking up on the molasses in it too. I put couple of these in the cellar to see what happens, they are already 9 months old so not sure how much longer to keep them or that I can wait.

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Photo of gfreed
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is basically a somewhat dulled version of Founders' Backwoods Bastard, which itself is one of the finest bourbon Scotch ales made in the US. OC has most of the same features of BB-- heavy on the apricots and butterscotch, with just enough oak to make everything fat, round and happy-- only less by about 25%. But then, this is a good deal sweeter as well. If you like Founders' Dirty Bastard or Backwoods Bastard, you'll like Old Curmudgeon. For me, it's a tad sweet but still nice to be drinking as I sit in a small house on the beach in Truro, MA, watching hurricane Irene blow north. Things could be worse.

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Photo of kajerm
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub, and easily the best beer on at the time. Pours deep red and surprisingly clear with a thin white head and not much lacing. Great color.

The aroma is classic Bigge Englishe Beer-- loaded with sticky toffee and caramel malts and dark fruit, with some clear oak and vanilla notes from the barrel-aging. Alcohol is evident but not excessive.

Tastes more or less exactly like it smells, but with the interesting addition of some stouty coffee notes on the finish. The barrel-aging on this beer is much subtler than a lot of the others I've tasted. As much as I like a vanilla-and-molasses oak bomb, it's nice to find a beer where the barrel is a part of the beer instead of running the show.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. In terms of drinkability, it's a sipper, but a fairly easy-drinking one.

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Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. The four-pack carrier claims it's 9.8% abv (vs. the 9.3% recorded here on the site).
Poured an almost dark orange color, I liked the way it looked. There was a lot going on in the smell. This being my first real old ale, I didn't know what to expect, but I got sweet smells from all over the spectrum. Caramel, fruit, etc. Interesting, but a little cloying. Fortunately, the taste wasn't so sick, yeah it was intense and really sweet, but the alcohol cut through the sweetness just enough to make it pretty darn good. All in all, I wasn't in a hurry to have another one and I move on for the remainder of the evening, but I did enjoy this beer and would have another some other time. Founders is studly, they just crank out hit after hit.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottling date seems to have disappeared...but if I can remember correctly, this is about 8 months old.

A - a deep ruby body with hints of orange. A nice thing. A small white head and thick ring top it off.

S - pretty heavy on sweet caramel malts. some dark fruits and roast. Very sweet and malty.

T - a lot more roasted character than in the nose. biscuity, dry, earthy, fruity. Not so bad.

M - big and full and thick. Really good feel.

O - this is a pretty good beer, i think. It might do better with a bit more age, but it tastes pretty good and has a lot going on.

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Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle with a bottled on date of Jan. 2013.
Pours hazy, orange-brown with a small, weak head.

Aroma: sweet and boozy with a clear trace of oak. hints of citrus and toffee.

Flavor: Mildly sweet; hints of over-ripe soft fruits and toffee; pretty good until the finish and aftertaste, then notably better.

Feel: medium-full body; slightly harsh (ABV); warming.

O: interesting strong ale.

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

Coppery color with a thin wisp of head. Very little retention with pretty much no lace. The aroma is sweet with toffee, vanilla, caramel and butterscotch all swirling around though overall it was leaning towards the weak side. Those aromas show through in the flavor that is heavily toffee-like with a sturdy butterscotch note in the background. The mouthfeel was pleasant. The sweetness was restrained and I didn't find it overly sticky and a fair amount of carbonation helped to lift the heavy body off the palate. It was good overall but I found myself wanting more. It lacked a certain wow factor to bring it over the top but I was happy to drink it.

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Photo of n2185
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in March of 2010

A: Pours a murky caramel brown with a finger of off-white head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Lots of caramel malts up front with some hints of vanilla. There are some light citrus and alcohol notes in there as well. I also pick up a bit of powdery cocoa aroma.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of caramel flavors with some vanilla notes. Some slight biscuity bitterness as well. Sticky sweet with a light alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky and chewy, but avoids being cloyingly sweet.

O: Overall, a decent old ale. Even with a year on it, there are still some hop and alcohol notes present. Unfortunately, I think it may have oxidized slightly. I will have to try it again fresh.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle, 9.3 % AVB on the label. Pours a very cloudy mahogany/bronze color. Thick off white head disappears very quick. Aroma is very vinous. Notes of oak, coconut, and vanilla. Almost sherry like in flavor. The oak flavor is very strong, and may need to mellow out a bit. Alcohol is well hidden until this warms to room temperature. A hint of spices as it warms as well. Some hop bitterness at the end, but all seems to be overshadowed by the woody aspect of this beer. I am not saying that it is bad, but I think some cellar time could make this an outstanding beer. Very complex, and interesting. Certainly worth revisiting in the future.

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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.

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Photo of JayS2629
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Cloudy, muddy brown with a beautiful dirty tan head that leaves a foamy ring of lacing. Nice retention.

s- Booze in the front. Strong bourbon scent with caramel and smokey wood character.

T- Booze on the front with sweet malts and faint hops. Bourbon in the background. Strong.

M- Heat from the booze bite . Strong, heavy but smooth.

D- Its a sipper. Boozy bite makes it one to drink slow. Sweet and complex but strong and one to sip.

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

Pours a cloudy, amber color. 1/4 inch head of an off-white color. There is also suspended sediment. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of yeast, strong alcohol, slight oak, and slight citrus hops. Fits the style of an Old Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong alcohol, oak, slight citrus hops, slight yeast, and hint of sweet malt. Overall, overly strong in the alcohol, not very complex, but definitely warming.

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Photo of Naugros
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured aggressively into a DFH snifter-like thingy glass. I guess you can call it a goblet, since it's not quite a chalice. Anyway, I was rewarded with a pretty nice head, especially for an old ale that was cream-colored and promised to stick to the glass.

You get a whiff or raisin as soon as you pop the top, but in the glass it changes to more of a rum note. Some sense of red wine and smoky molasses. Cocoa is also present as the malts exert a roasted smell. Very rich and complex nose. Very nice.

The taste disappoints after enjoying the smell. The flavors are sweet, but weaker than I expected and don't carry all the complexities of the nose. Rum/raisin is still present, but cocoa is gone. The malts take on more of a burnt flavor rather than roast. It's as if someone overcooked the sugar and burnt the caramel. I know, I've done it and this is what it tasted like.

It does have that sort of old leather couch and side table with smoking pipe in an ashtray feel to it. Only way I can describe it. You either get it or you don't. But the mouthfeel is too light for an old ale, but it is pretty smooth. There is little presence of alcohol warmth. It makes it a lot more drinkable than most old ales, but that's not the goal of an old ale. You're meant to sip these.

Since the body can thin out as it ages I don't see this improving much with cellaring. Maybe the complex aromas in the nose would impart into the flavor...that would be a plus...and mellow out that sensation of burnt malts. I do really like this beer, but not as an old ale. If they didn't have "Old Ale" written on the label I would have given a higher rating as I would not have reviewed against the style.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this at a tasting before and was not too crazy about it. Decided to get a bottle and do an official review. 12oz bottle...

A: Beautiful deep murky copper with a small off white head that fades slowly. Good.

S: Smells like a decent old ale. Sweet sugary malts upfront blended with hints of bready raisin, cherry, and banana. Alcohol bite on the backend. Very Good.

T: Takes a strange turn here. Starts with a very dry metallic taste followed by hints of sugary malt and some dark fruit. Ok.

M: Does not leave a whole lot on the palate. What it does leave is good. Medium body. Good.

D: Once you get past the interesting metallic taste, it goes down good.

All in all, this brew definitely followed suit with the first time I tried it. Just ok, not much special in this one. Not worth hunting and do not make this a priority to try if you have access.

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Photo of birchstick
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a reddish amber with a 1/2 finger head

S - spicy cherries, old leather, loads of malts, some cinnamon, and booze

T - The taste follows the nose, but not as well as I would have liked. The flavors start with some vanilla and cherries, and leather and mustiness. The maple is there, but it is very subtle. These blend together to make a very complex, rich sipper of a beer, although I think it is still a little too hot right now. I am going to let the other three sit for a while longer.

M - this had little carbonation and a thin body. Also, the booze could have been a little more hidden.

D - Curmudgeon is a pretty decent Old Ale. Definitely a sipper with a bunch of flavors going on. I can't wait to see what this is like in a year...

----
2009 Vintage - 4.5 years old:
The nose has turned into a much more tobacco and leather aroma with less of the malty sweetness and vanilla I picked up yesterday. It's a touch soy saucy upfront but as it goes down there is rich caramel, leather, tobacco, spicy dark fruit, and a touch of vanilla. It reminds me of some of the best old ales and less hoppy barley wines I have tried.

Different flavor profile than the '10 had, but I think better - I am going to say this is the best flavor combination I have tasted in this beer. It could go on for longer, but maybe 2 more years at most before it started to fall apart.
---
2010 Vintage - 3.5 years old:
It pours a redder color than when fresh; the nose has noticeably diminished to a shell of itself - some oak and mellow vanilla notes are present, though; the taste, however is superb - malty, caramelly sweetness upfront moves on to a slight tobacco, cognac, and toasted/burnt malt flavor ; this finishes with a slight aged hop bitterness mixed with oak, and a really nice vanilla pop. Fantastic taste! The alcohol has noticeably settled and makes for a very easy drinking ale.

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

Cloudy, deep reddish brown with a thinish off white head.

Fruity, vinous aroma with a heavy licorice scent in there. Some carmel and raisiny oxidized smell. Altogether liquor-like.

Whiskey/scotch like flavor, big alcohol presence. Malts are thin but fadingly fruity. Aftertaste is woody, bitter and alcoholic. Warming.

Thin and mostly flat in the mouth.

Altogether, it not my favorite Founders. A complex beer in flavor, though, and well crafted. A sipper. Just a little too much like whiskey for my liking.

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

Poured kinda hard due to the fact I knew it was an Old Ale. Lots of chunkies and yeast cake, what the hell? Off white head, deep aubern color, floating yeast matter. Pretty ugly except for the uncharicterstic lacing. Aroma of malt forward English yeast, sweet malts, and specialty malt. Some cherry notes on the aroma, but their light. Flavor, really malt forward, some caramel wait no alot of caramel, some light molasses. In addition some phenol like English yeast flavor is present. Thick under-attenuated beer, sweet, thick mouthfeel. And even a little bitter on the finish from some hops. Not bad. In the panthion of Old Ale it isn't a victory but it's ok.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep murky amber color. Maybe a fingers worth of white foam which quickly dissipates to a thin film. Lots of sediment including a thick glob which just floats on top.

S - the nose is rich and focused. The sweet aromas of molasses and maple syrup are dominate. There are also notes of buttery toast/french toast and cherry puree.

T - toasty bread, caramel, and toffee notes up front. Sweet cherry flavors and hint of cinnamon spice in the center. Just a hint of alcohol heat and peppery spice on the backend which lingers a bit after the finish.

M - buttery texture. Full bodied. Medium carbonation with full round bubbles.

O - good dessert beer. A bit much on its own but i suspect it would be fantastic with a fruit based desert.

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice beautiful reddish amber with a nice head that quickly dissipates. Not much aroma. First sip is not much sweetness but you can definitely taste the oak barrel and finishes with a strong alcohol kick. Was looking for more maple goodness. As you drink more and the beer warms up, the maple and molasses start to come through. A very nice beer. Starts becoming like a fine cognac. Be careful as that almost 10% will kick you real quick.

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Photo of cvm4
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark amber, light khaki one finger head that dissipates quickly.

S - Not getting a lot on the nose. May'be some molasses and a faint oak smell. Definitely a sweet, subdued smell.

T - A sweet, molasses opening. Some kicks of spices that develop into an okay finish. Can't detect the abv.

M - Silky and lightly carbonated. Still heavy enough to coat your mouth.

O - Definitely a solid offering from Founders. It's not a mind blowing beer, but then again, every beer can't be from one brewery.

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Photo of lundqu23
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a huge light tan head that settles into a very high density, the beer is very clear and a nice bare color, nice head retention. Amber malt, nuttiness, pretty faint under that head Light malt sweetness, has an alcohol warmth to it, bread, some spice, caramel, hints of grain Palate: soft carbonation, very heavy and thick mouthfeel, alcohol on the aftertaste. The taste hides the ABV very well and you can tell it is well made when you drink it due to the seriousness of the beer.

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Photo of dschuster03
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For my first official BA review, I'm choosing the Founders Curmudgeon. Why? I have no idea. Ever since my middle school hay days I have loved the word, Curmudgeon - although at the time I was rather oblivious to its meaning, and merely fond of the similarly titled Nirvana B-side.

For quite some time in my beer loving days I had searched high and low for this beer. I worked to set up a number of trades to pick just one up to try, each inevitably falling dead in their own tracks. Then one day, as if the gods themselves had been watching my search, it just showed up. And I'm not talking about a trip to Grand Rapids I took in search of the beer (to no avail), nor stops on the same trip to handfuls of local Michigan beer stores (again to no avail), and I'm not even talking about a happen-chance finding of a single bottle in the back room of a store no one would have ever thought to find the brew. No. I mean it just showed up. Seriously - right now, it's all over Cincinnati. I mean everywhere. How about that for serendipitous notion? But hey, I'm not complaining! And either way, it showed up, and then it found its way into my cellar - from the looks of it by the truckload at that.

But I digress. I poured this beer before even navigating to the review page here on BA and my taste buds are getting impatient. It is worthy to note that I have poured my Curmudgeon at cellar temperature into a deep stemless white wine glass - my glass of choice of lately for enjoying anything as particularly malty as this.

This beer pours a beautiful, deep red mahogany, and quickly gathers a finger and a half of light brown head. The head dissipates a little too quickly, but leaves an amoeba of lacing griping tight to the glass. There is a touch of standing sediment hanging out in the beer, but nothing to frown upon for this style.

The smell! This one knocks in with some thick, boozy notes that are backed up by caramel, molasses, deep grape, and, although I can't touch what this particular flavor is, I will describe the overall smell as "burnt sticky caramel corn." I am fighting the urge to find the correct words to describe this beer with my desire to toss this one down the hatch. And in that case... bottoms up!

Burnt Sticky Caramel Corn is pretty accurate if you ask me! The Old Curmudgeon hits the tongue with a quickly waning hit of fresh hops, grazes the tongue gracefully through its candy-like mid-body and rushes down the back of the throat almost like it wasn't even there. This one sits on the tongue after finish and simply bubbles for a while, asking for another sip. The sweetness sits with a light glaze through the mouth and reaffirms my newly coined burnt sticky caramel corn flavor profile. Plus some plum... yeah, a little bit of plum. Once it goes down, though, it's like I'm breathing fire here. Not like some crazy burn-down-the-house fire; more like a sitting by the campfire making s'mores (s'more what?) fire. The booze sits nicely and keeps the warming coming quite nicely. I could take this one out in 40 degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt and keep warm. I like that.

As much as I really like this beer, I'd love to have a little more variety in flavor aside from the aforementioned notes. For what is there, however, I can certainly appreciate the flavors, and there is nothing about this one that says, you can't have just one. On a good night with some good company, I could sip on these for quite some time. Well worth the wait to finally try these, and I am more than appreciative that I had quite a few more of these in my cellar.

Cheers!

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Photo of katan
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a hazy brown to orange color. Head formation is moderately strong, dirty white. Well retained down to a light film. Carbonation appears light.

S - Sweet malt smelling. A bready tone. Has a bit of yeast bite. Some phenolic tones.

T - Starts off malty and sweet - toasty and bready. No hopping in the mid-stream, bitterness is muted. Finishes off with a very strong phenolic tone combined with a caramel toffee malt.

M - Very thick and creamy. Little carbonation bite. This baby is built on a huge sugar base to drive this mouthfeel. Cloying and clinging to the tongue.

D - Moderate drinkability. ABV is pretty potent. Not filling. Taste is pretty smooth, but does become dominant on the palette.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,617 ratings.
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