Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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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

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Reviews: 1,289 | Ratings: 4,661
Photo of Erdinger2003
3.07/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

There's no head with little lacing that doesn't stick very well. The smell is sweet brown with butterscotch. It's pungent like perfume, very very sweet perfume. It also has a slight spicyness. It's like wet/sweet wood or cardboard with a sweet sweet brown sugar with spices. Mouthfeel is a little smooth with some good carbonation. I wouldn't have another unless it was fresh only because I was told it was great.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bought it almost on a whim, pricey for a single bottle.

Poured into a beer glass, pours darkish brown, caramel color. No foamy head, thin foam sits on the head.

Smell from the bottle didn't indicate much, other than alcohol. Neither much does it from the glass, smells almost fruity if I drink it through my nose.

Taste is interesting, almost complex. Heavy roasted malt flavor, similar to a scotch ale, with some chocolate notes. A bit of an alcohol taste to it with some bitterness aftertaste.

Feels bold, full, and has a bite to it, not for those who dislike the alcohol taste or feel.

Overall, pricey, but okay, pleasantly complex but not to my taste. At least the label is nice.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to sweemzander for hooking me up with this one.

12oz bottle poured into standard pint.

A- Pours a burnt orange with some nice reddish hints. Just a slight haze to it. A finger's worth of head that leaves a small cap on the beer.

S- A decent bit of malt and some alcohol is picked up right away. Also a combination of meat and or pork with a touch of dish soap. I would have to say it is a little off putting.

T- I still pick up a big dose of pork and soapiness. Beyond that, slight hops and a little sweetness with some butterscotch and some maple syrup.

M- Medium bodied that feels like it has barely any carbonation. Relatively smooth on the tongue.

D- I can't say that I would reach for another one of these but you are supposed to age it and so I will and see where it takes me. There is just a weirdness right now that makes me want to stay away.

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Photo of nhindian
3.14/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A - Pours a dark orange, vibrant and shading into light brown. There are a lot of floaties suspended in the beer, which gives a gritty and pretty ugly appearance. A one-fingered head slowly surfaces, composed of large bubbles and thin foam, with low retention besides an island of residue that lingers. Lacing is faint and creates makeshift shadows that take on multiple shapes.

S - The first thing I noticed about the smell is that it is quite malty but also has a distinct kick to it, as if it has some bourbon or spices in it to shake things up a bit. Lots of caramel here. As it warms, I am getting a noticeable 'soapy' quality which confuses me.

T - An interesting twist on the nose, the taste incorporates some butterscotch as well into the mix. A good amount of oak, but the malt really takes the foreground here from start to finish. Very sweet, and even has some raisins and molasses to pile on. At first I was enjoying this a lot, but once I started to pick up the soapiness in the nose it sort of hurt the taste, as well as a big booze presence.

M - The mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with lowish carbonation. Feels pretty good on the palate, but the flavors do tend to shy it towards syrupy and perhaps even cloying at times. Lasting impressions leave alcohol and caramel.

D/O - Drinkability is moderate. I think I will go back to an adjective I used earlier to sum up this beer: gritty. From the oak to the malts to the alcohol and even the appearance, this beer is not pretty. It's big, sweet, and if you're not careful it can put you on your ass. Still, a nice beer that just needs a little bit of fine-tuning.

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Photo of BarrelO
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Cloudy reddish-brown body. Head fades quickly and leaves no lacing.

S: Caramel, vanilla, and booze.

T: Strong malt, vanilla, and oak. Kind of like a mini-bourbon. Becomes cloying after a while.

M: Medium-bodied with little carbonation.

D: A total malt bomb with oak to intensify the effect. It was a bit much for me. If you like whiskey, though, it might be up your alley.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into cervoise. From notes. Bottled Feb 10, 2010

A - Pours a ruddy brownish amber with beige head. Decent retention of a while but didn't remain after the first 1/4 of the glass.

S - Grainy, minor pine hops, caramel and toffee sweetness, sugar

T - Heavy on the malts - bready, sweet, very grainy. Caramel and toffee do come through as well as some minor fruitiness (plums, raisins). Minor woodiness to it but I didn't find any molasses, too bad.

M - full medium to light heavy. Somewhat flat. Boozy

O - An average old ale, a bit extreme on some of the flavours caused some imbalance. I would have it again with another year or two on it. Not bad, average.

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Photo of degerbah
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a light amber with little head. Very little smell, the taste is unique in my tasting experience. Extremely sweet with very little bitterness. The bottle lists an ABV of 9.8% which is not apparent in the taste, not boozy at all. I can't put my finger on it, but I think this beer just has something that isn't doiing it for me. I greatly prefer almost every founders beer I've had to this one. The price $2.79 per bottle wasn't too bad, still not great.

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Photo of ToddT
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Hazy Amber color with an off white head. It took a hard pour to produce the head but it last for a while and leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet malt and subtle notes of candied fruit.

T- Sweet from beginning to the finish, candied fruit is the dominate note. There is some heat from alcohol at the finish, not a burn but more of a building warmth.

M- Medium in body and low in carbonation, finish is sticky and a little oily.

O- The 9.8% ABV is not well hidden, the finish isn’t that clean, and it a little sweet. OK for an old ale, but there are much better examples out there.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
3.2/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours blurry nut brown in color (a little lighter than I would have expected) with a single finger head that dissipates to a foamy swirl. Nose is deep caramel and vanilla, not much else going on here. Taste is much like the nose with the addition of some hop bitterness and a slightly woody taste. The alcohol is very present, but not overly so for the style. The mouthfeel is a little thin compared to other old ales I have had. Drinkability is only so so on this one, the hops seem oddly placed, perhaps in another six months this will improve.

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Photo of Guden
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Looks perfect. Ruby amber with a one inch head that only fades after drinking and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Some light cherry and raisin with a bit of toffee mixed in. Not overly strong but nice and refreshing.

T- Meh. The nose is entirely lost in hops. The hoppiness comes on with piney, herbal and earthy notes with prickly deep bitterness on the end. Not what I look for in an old ale, this one might be better after a few more years. As it warms some cherry character becomes more prominent and a bit of alcohol presence develops but still not hot.

M- Pretty smooth and creamy but the carbonation is a bit high which, when mixed with the hoppiness, comes off with an impression far from what I had hoped for or really enjoyed.

D- I didn't hate this beer but it was far from what I was going for in an Old Ale. The hops really cover up most of the complexity that it might be able to have, I would like to see how it ages but I don't know where to get a bottle.

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Photo of Mojo
3.21/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Well this is the first Founders offering I just didn't like. It pours a hazy copper with about a one finger head and no lacing. Smell is apples, other sweet scents and alcohol. Mouthfeel is very thick. Taste is sweet with lots of alcohol on the finish. I don't mind high gravity beers, but I just feel the alcohol could have been better hidden. I felt like I was drinking bourbon. Sorry, but I don't really recommend this one.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sampled on 12-11-07

Pours a super cloudy (and supery yeasty) red brown color. A filmy head sits in top, leaving rings of lacing.

Smell is sweet and earthy, with a complex quality that adds a huge amount of depth. Fruity, and slightly boozy.

Taste is an absolute shock. Thick, sour apple cider gives way to a sizable bourbon kick. I was not expecting this flavor at all, and it absolutely dominates the beer.

Mouthfeel is very good, super thick. You can taste the bourbon forever.

Drinkability is not so good, a hugely intense beer.

Overall, unexpected. The standard dark fruit flavors of an old ale were covered up entirely by the alcohol bourbon flavor. Maybe I'll enjoy the next one more, when I can see it coming.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

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Photo of timmay41
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. The four-pack carrier claims it's 9.8% abv (vs. the 9.3% recorded here on the site).

A: Pours an intense, almost lurid dark orange-amber hue. Topped with a thin (less than one finger) bright white head.

S: Deep bourbon scents on the front of the nose, followed by almost simultaneous big malts, fruit sweetness, thick molasses, and a little hop character. There's a lot going on here, but it's almost too busy. Hard to distinguish or truly get a feel for. Making me rethink my previous experiences with this style and how Founders is trying to negotiate its way within those parameters.

T: Strong bourbon & alcohol bite dominates. I keep trying to find more subtle notes, but I'm having trouble. Big malt, a little bitter on the aftertaste.

M: Sticky sweet and thick, but not too thick. The mouthfeel doesn't distract from the brew at all.

D: I was excited to find this Founders offering and have generally liked the old ales I've come across, but this one didn't meet my expectations. Might try again down the road because it might be my palette, but not a favorite right now.

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Photo of adamette
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Live Review. Poured from the 12 oz. single that I bought at World Wines & Liquor in Mentor, Ohio a few weeks ago for $3.55 into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. No observed "best by" date.

A 3 inch creamy light brown head over a liquid caramel translucent body. Good look overall and it has that thick, syrupy look of all of the other Old Ales that I have tasted and rated. Edit: bump from 3.5 due to the nice lacing on the inside of the glass. 4.0

S Bready malt sweetness. It is like bread with maple sryup on top with an alcohol scent in the background. Not bad but pretty well in line with other Old Ales that I have experienced. 3.5

T The bread and sweet malt along with a warmth of alcohol show up in the taste just as they did in the taste. This is the classic taste of an Old Ale. 3.5

M Warm, full feeling beer with plenty of syrupy stickiness and depth and breadth. Again here, a fine aspect of the beer but one that I have come across often in the style. 3.5

D Not very drinkable to me with the huge feel (appropriate to the style but huge none the less) and the rather high ABV. 2.0

Notes: Pretty average version of an Old Ale.

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Photo of SuomiHobbit
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Flavor and mouthfeel are fine on the way down...then the bourbon flavor wrecks the whole deal. Bourbon aroma is not enjoyable. High alcohol is fairly well hidden.

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Photo of r0nyn
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into my DFH snifter. Shared with fellow BAs infi, brun, NYManc and several others.

A coppery amber hue fills the glass, hazy but not cloudy, with a touch of gold around the edges. A modest quarter-inch head rises briefly before receding into the surface of the beer, leaving some loose, spotty lacing. From the first inhalation, the hefty booziness is evident, as it permeates the nose, but thankfully doesn't mask the rest of the aromas. Sweet and peaty nuances are detectable, ostensibly from the molasses, along with light hints of caramel and a little hint of vanilla.

Starts off with a mild bitter punch from the hops, followed by that distinct oak flavoring then... nothing. No alcohol, no malts, no anything. That's it. I might as well have been drinking water. There's a bit of a dry smack left on the tongue, but little else to remind you that you've been drinking a beer, one with close to 10% ABV, no less. Really quite in conundrum. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with the aforementioned dryness, but that's really about it. Not quite as ephemeral as the taste, but there you go.

Old Curmudgeon is a mixed bag for me. Looks good, smells nice, but just kinda mails it in tastewise. Not sure if that's what it should always taste like, but given what other people have said, it might be that I had a dodgy bottle. Will have to revisit this brew properly some other day.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pour an amber-orange with a little bit of foam that disappears quickly.

S: Boozy caramel.

T: Hops, caramel, and and herbal sweetness. Too sweet for me, to the point of being cloying.

M: Very nice mouthfeel, great carbonation. Heavy body to it.

D: Take it easy on this one, I think it's a one per night kind of beer.

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Photo of crewfan16
3.26/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

New to the style here, but have found all Founders beer to be enjoyable, so here goes nothing. Poured from a bottle to a pint glass

a-pours a deep amber/brown color. sort of mahogany or oak color. about an inch of foam that is slightly cream colored and descends with some light lacing.

s-oak, caramel sweetness, malty smell. not nearly as strong as I had anticipated

t-more oak. a little bit of bitter hoppiness, some caramel and lots of malt

m-for 9.8% abv, it doesn't taste too boozy. there is a little tingle on the tongue, but nothing more. carbonation seems a tad light, but it goes down very easily, very drinkable.

my first try at an old ale and I am sort of on the fence about it. It doesnt seem terribly balanced, as the oak is sort of overbearing. We will see if I like it more as the 4-pack dwindles, but presently, there are other founders brews i would rather reach for.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.27/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Curmudgeon, full pint at Vintner Wine Market.

Appearance: Filled to the brim, with just under one finger of foamy and persistent head. Never dies! Tonsa lacing, great retention. Color is a slightly transparent chestnut-amber, shiny and engaging.

Smell: Quite a disappointment compared to the looks, with only a slight toasted feel, an odd metallic backup and some spice.

Taste: Follows nose, with a nice bread-and-biscuit feel and a spicy boozy end. Raw honey, a mellow hop touch and crème brulee. Vanilla. Odd but good mixture of sweet and tasty. Oak? None.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, flavor and carbonation. Spicy dry finish. Alright but average.

Overall: Nothing spectacular but quite drinkable. Closer to Dirty Bastard than Backwoods Bastard, sadly, and not up to the expectations.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.27/5  rDev -18%
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 BB1313
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2011 vintage; no date. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a bright hazy amber/orange, great color. Decent white head, I wish it was bigger, nice lacing. The nose is very subtle, but opens up as it warms up. I'm picking up some spices, cinnamon and all-spice? I know it sounds odd, but that's what I'm sensing. It can also be found in the flavors as well, mildly. There are hints of chocolate and caramel giving it a sweetness. There's also hints of brown sugar and molasses. The oak isn't too noticeable, IMO. There's a nice bitterness, but everything is in moderation. The balance is there. Unfortunately, the flavors aren't that interesting. Mouthfeel is nice, pretty light for a high gravity beer; slightly creamy and smooth; not overboard on the carbonation. Old Ale, Barleywine.. whatever you want to call it, it's safe, nothing spectacular.

This isn't a bad beer, but it definitely didn't grab my attention. Although it's well-crafted, I expected more from Founders. Average beer from an above average brewery.

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Photo of hardysf
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Very good mouthfeel. Wonderful color that is clear. Smell of wood and molasses. Some hop spiciness shines through at the end. Too much oak flavor for me. Might be better with some age.

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Photo of frankiepop
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer does not live up to the hype that it lays out in my opinion. So start at the beginning:

Looks: Kinda bland actually. Pretty reddish tan. Below ave head

Smell: Again a little flat and unexciting. I get hints of a little oak, smidgeon of bourbon and maybe the molasses.

Flavors: Again a nice mild oak and a hint of bourbon. I do taste a molasses flavor but its very feint though a little underwhelming. I prefer something more like the Scottish Traquair House Ale, which provides more oak and sweetness and the bourbon flavors remain only a background hint.

I also found this beer to be a bit hot. Lotsa carbonation and alcohol burn going down so I marked down the feel here.

So what goes well with this beer? Well maybe the music curmudgeon of all time. That is right. jazz saxophone player son of a bitch Phil 'fuck you' Woods. I recommend an illegal download of his "Live at the Showboat" or a good version of his version of the tune 'Freedom Jazz Dance' from the lp "Swiss Radio Days Jazz Series"

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Photo of kbeals
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sort of a viscous pour, very little head with a bit of lacing. Looks about the color of apple cider, some floaties. Smell is a bit citrusy with sweet malts, an alcohol smell makes quite a presence also. Tastes exactly like scotch, maybe a bit sweeter though, not much to this one. Chest is warmed up nicely from the alcohol, though. This is the first Founder's brew I probably would never buy again.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,661 ratings.
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