Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,263 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,263 | Ratings: 4,594
Photo of TTAmod
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with a 4/26/12 date poured into pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy reddish/dark brown with a thin tan head.

S: Smells strongly of burnt caramel, tobacco, hints of chocolate, and hints of coffee.

T: The taste of this beer is obscenely complex and layered. It starts of immediately malty. Again, strong notes of burnt caramel essentially dominate. There are hints of chocolate and leather, too. The hops are a bit more prevalent toward the end. It also turns slightly phenolic. Ends oddly sweet and fruity.

M: Full bodied, for sure. This is one stout beer.

O: In my opinion, this is akin to an imperial-ized English pale ale. It shares a lot of similar tastes (burnt caramel, leather, hops,) but much more potent. It's a nice, interesting beer that commands to be sipped and savored.

 787 characters

Photo of axeman9182
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tall thin glass at the Cloverleaf Tavern for their Founders event.

Curmudgeon Old Ale pours an opaque amber, with some scattered straight orange highlights. A bit more than a finger of bone colored foam caps the beer. Head retention is alright, and there's just a little lacing left behind. Caramel, oak, and biscuity aromas all leap out of the glass towards my nose, with none dominating above the others. There's a prominent note of very caramelized brown sugar in the flavor profile. Waves of toffee, toasty bread, vanilla, and oak fall in to create a very layered flavor profile. The body is full, though not quite chewy, and well short of cloying. The carbonation is on the muted side, completing the picture for a solid malt forward mouthfeel. Curmudgeon is just another entry in Founders' impressive stable of malt forwars beers.

 849 characters

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

Very nice beer, fits the style.

Deep amber color, with a small head. You can tell the beer has a malty character from its smell. Sweet beer, with a full body and medium carbonation. Coffee like notes and dark sugar. The alcohol sting in this one is quite high, you can tell there is a big amount as its not hidden by the sweetness, I guess it comes out together with the acidity of the beer.

For me the appearance and the sting of alcohol would be the negative points of the beer, however the style dictates that the presence of alcohol so appearance is the one lacking here.

Nice, would buy in winter, as the alchohol would warm up the cold and the sweetness reminds me of christmas ho ho ho

 698 characters

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

Ok so here is another one from Founders. Bought a single bottle at 3.75 without taxes. Too much. Not the bang for the buck type.

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a large snifter. Deep Amber color. Too much haze. Opaque. A lot of suspension. Dirty looking beer. Less than a finger thick head of off white color. Not enough standing. Disappears pretty quickly. Just decent stickiness. No bubbles seen.

Aroma :Malt forward. Caramel. Very apparent strong alcohol. Some nuts. No hops. No fruitiness. Toffee -yes. Hints of vanilla.

Taste: Malt heavy. Upfront, back and everywhere in between. Some bitterness is there but overall finish is boozy, semi sweet and dry. Alcohol after taste.

Mouth feel: Medium to slightly full. No carbonation. No astringency of any kind. Warming alcohol but does not hurt. Drinks well but very strong.

Style Rate: 4
Personal Rate : 4

A beer that does not give bang for the buck. Overpriced single.

 933 characters

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Rattle n Hum- poured a hazy reddish brown with a thin, light brown head. No retention, no lacing. It's a heavy one.

Smells very malty, slightly boozy, and to ME a bit like mint and anise.

I definitely tast mint and anise- its strange but good. Lots and lots if malt and a little twinge of booze.

Mouthfeel is similar to gulden draak- too syrupy but it's a little more carbonated. Definitely an interesting one to try.

 435 characters

Photo of BruceBruce
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Great color of Raspberry Brown with no head at all, a very thin line and no lacing.

S: I really cant get much of a scent off of this, may be allergies today, but all I can get is a bit of sweet molasses, alcohol.

T: Sweet first, then the back edges of my tongue taste the alcohol. There is a bit of molasses and a tiny bit of oak, I thought there would be more of it.

M: A bit thicker then I expected but very good.

O: The first time I had this beer it was side by side with Better Half, don't do that. It would have been all 3.5 until I tried it by itself and cold to warm. This is a good beer, I have gotten many now and could drink them year round. I love it, great beer overall. Had to edit this, as it warms up it is way better, room temp you get way more flavor out of this very complex beer.

 805 characters

Photo of Atlas1
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brought this bottle home with me from a business trip to East Lansing. Thank you, me.

Wow. This is a beautiful beer right from the start. Pours a pretty copper/bronze color with hints of ruby red thrown in for good measure. Big, fat, two-finger head on top that lingers a while and finally recedes with a lace wake. Nice. The nose is bold and malty, and really fruitier than expected. Bursting with berry scents and a funky spiciness as well. A slight formadehyde aroma too, but I think that may be just my olfactory sense playing tricks on me. The taste is mellow, mostly of a malt character, with some dark fruit flavors as well. Some light spices. Lots of caramel and some faint toffee and molasses. Very nice. Mouthfeel is dense, smooth, and velvety.

A fine old ale here. High ABV (9.3%) is masked well by finely blended and balanced ingredients. I could easily toss back a few of these and not know what was going to hit me until it was too late. Tasty and easy-drinking. I'd recommend this to just about anyone. Would serve as a great social lubricant at parties, and would go especially well with desserts such as flan or bread pudding.

 1,146 characters

Photo of brianjay
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours the colors of molasses; dark amber with brown and orange, There is no head to speak of, just a thin splash of bubbles on top as evidence of carbonation.

Aroma is a bit sour and pungent but some hints of brown sugar and pecan pies.

Flavor is an explosion of sweet caramel and dry oatmeal. Alcohol is very present, you can feel the heat on this one. All in all, they combine to make one sweet, strong ale with sturdy malt notes.

The body is a balance of making a smooth, medium bodied mouth-feel.

 504 characters

Photo of rye726
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich redwood color with a silky tan head. Not the best retention, but still a fine looking ale. The nose has a collection of oaky malts, smoke, cocao and ripe fruits. Taste is well balanced between big roasty malts, sweet residual sugars and subtle floral hops. Full body is well carbonated. A very good version of the style that I could drink quite often.

 356 characters

Photo of Tuck_leepulin
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter, bottled on 01/14/15.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep amber with 2 fingers of off-white head.

Smell: Baked bread and oak

Taste: Robust malts with some lingering medicinal notes

Mouthfeel: Full with some warmth from the alcohol

Overall: A nice rendition of an old ale that deserves to be put aside and see how it develops.

 365 characters

Photo of bryanbullock
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A Carmel colored with strong head in the pour that lingers but residual carbonation dissipates quickly

S oak and charcoal on the nose with malty sweetness and hints of chocolate

T surprising chocolate taste in the forefront with Caremel undertones and a lasting oak and subtle bitterness.

M- smooth low carbonation, medium viscosity.

O- vastly exceeded my expectation.

 375 characters

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Was given a bottle of this by a friend recently, having never had this before. This seemed like the typical Old Ale but because it was so strong, could have been easily confused with being a a Barleywine. Not a fast sipper, there was a lot of complexity to this under the surface and it was so well-crafted that I had to take my time going through this, not even taking into account how potent it was!

Nice pour to this as the beer had a dark copper hue to it, a good amount of clarity, and a moderate tan head that quickly settled. No lacing seen on the side of the glass as this beer had a relatively thin consistency to it. Lots of booze and molasses in the nose, which were even more pronounced when I gave this a sip. Lots of current and cherry under that, which complemented the smoky oak beautifully. Warming and somewhat thin, this went down smooth but not easily as the burn from the alcohol and the wood took a bit of getting used to. Hard to pick out the hops here but there was an ever slight hint of bitterness in the back, which had a blood orange tinge to it. The carbonation was good even if the bubbles themselves weren't visible.

Yes, this was strong and it felt every bit of it from the opening of the bottle to the last drop. The complexity of this is what made it stand out and it was on par with the other beer that I've had from Founders. Just chewy enough without being cloying, the body was full enough to counterbalance the wonderful range of complex flavors without detracting from them. Take a good half hour and more to enjoy this - it's worth it and one of the best examples of this style that's widely available.

 1,645 characters

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - a gentile pour yielded a tiny head atop a cloudy copper brew.

S - Malty, Toffee overtakes any alcohol smells.

T - Strong molasses and toffee malt. Some alcohol warmth as expected. A great deal of sweetness aftertaste. A bit over the top for my liking.

M - smooth, simple.

Bursts of molasses and malty sugars create a unique experience, but one lacking in complexity.

 376 characters

Photo of wanglaoshi
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this for $9.99/4 pack at Tiffany's in Kalamazoo, MI. This was the first time I tried this one.

A - Translucent dark brown with a white head which quickly dissipates leaving some lacing. Sediment, yes; cloudy, no.

S - Smells very sweet. Molasses very prominent.

T - Came at me totally from left field. Hoppiness balances out the sweet, malty flavor very nicely. Somewhat heady alcoholic finish.

M - Just what I like: Full-bodied, slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Low carbonation level.

D - This took a little while to get used to, but very drinkable. The slightly higher level of bitterness helps offset the sweet, syrupy characteristics.

 640 characters

Photo of RickS95
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It's an impressive looking beer with an orange amber pour. Very rich looking. Not the darkest beer by any means, but thick and rich enough to be completely opaque. The head is an off-white. It's a slow forming, cascading head that never grows terribly thick but it retains moderately well, never fully dissipates and leaves a sticky lace behind.

The scent is so subtle that nothing really jumps out. It's clearly all malt, caramel possibly and the molasses is present.

It tastes like you'd expect and it's pretty spectacular. There's an earthiness to it from the oak barrels and had I not known about the molasses I'd have guessed brown sugar. Also, the alcohol is fairly noticeable, though never over the top.

Not sure how to describe it, but it's got an 'old' feel to it as well. It starts off relatively sweet, which makes sense given the malt bill. As the beer works its way back, it starts to give off some heat from the high ABV. It remains sweet throughout, but never cloying as there is a nice balance. It's very full bodied and finishes dry and hot.

Overall it's a beer everyone should try. Clearly a sipper, it goes down easier than a barleywine or DIPA and is mostly pleasant for the duration.

 1,210 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely gorgeous dark amber to ruby coloring. The head is bright and effervescent with loads bubbly carbonation ringing out.

Rich molasses fills the nose with sweet chocolate/caramel fullness. Dates and prune sweetness accompany a port, wine or cognac end.

Very full, rich flavor of grape, chocolatey malt, caramel, wine, cognac and prune. Hints of molasses, oak and malt hold the backbone but the alcohol rich flavors of fermented or distilled grapes overtakes. Slight warmth in the chest does not deter but defines a wonderful winter warmer/fireplace sipping ale.

 570 characters

Photo of goochpunch
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a deep reddish caramel with a thin ring of bubbles around the top of the beer. Smells strongly of brown sugar and dried fruits. Lots of fig and date. Flavor is big on brown sugar, dried fruits, cinnamon, vanilla, with a touch of coffee. Carbonation is soft. Body is full. This is delicious and very British.

 317 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four-pack at my local Stein's Liquor. The bottled on date suggests this beer is about six months old. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

L: Pours a ruddy copper with about a half-inch of off-white head that dissipates pretty quickly, leaves a nice ring, and provides little lacing on the glass. Lazy, infrequent visible carbonation.

S: Caramel malt notes, with a bit of clear alcohol, molasses, and some mild raisin. Just a bit of nuttiness coming through, as well.

T: Sweet caramel and bready malts at the outset. There's a bit of tartness that appears with some of the clear alcohol flavor. The middle sees the development of the molasses flavor, as well as some nice, albeit subtle, raisin and nut flavors. The warming alcohol builds a bit throughout this stretch, but the taste remains quite sweet. The back end is sweet malts and more of that warming alcohol, with just a bit of that lingering molasses, raisin, and nut.

F: Medium-bodied and more creamy than syrupy, which I tend to enjoy. There's is just a bit of stick to the finish, as those flavors remain on the palate for a while. Nice level of carbonation.

O: Well, this is the second Old Ale I've tried tonight. I have to say, Curmudgeon is a far more drinkable brew than North Coast Old Stock Ale. This one doesn't has as complex or well-developed a flavor, but it certainly seems to have a bit more balance. I wish some of the raisin and nut were more assertive, but this is definitely a beer I would return to again.

 1,509 characters

Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour of this 12-ounce bottle into a New Belgium chalice produced a small tan head over a cloudy hazy dark amber-walnut body. Head quickly disappeared into a thin ring.

Smell is boozy sweet caramel malt and sweet vinous fruitiness of raisins and prunes. I like it.

Taste is a firm sweet caramel malt foundation with a heavy citrus hops bitterness. Great balance, and lots of fruit. Reminds me a dark-chocolate covered orange-rind. Mmmm. I like the depth and complexity of this.

Great sticky mouthfeel that keeps the malt flavor going as the hops bitterness lasts.

This is really good, but it's a sipper at 9.3%.

 632 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Clear ruby-copper body, thick and rich looking, with a light tan head that fades to nothing. Nose is rich and buttery, molasses and caramel add a mild sweetness. Taste is buttery and warming, notes of molasses, caramel, toasted bread, toasted wood, toasted marshmallow, a touch of vanilla and bourbon/cognac. Leans sweet, but has overpowering warmth to steer it in a better direction. Body is rich, full, heavy, mouth-coating.
Quite a yummy specimen here. The sweetness is mitigated by heavier, warming flavors, and quite a good variety of them at that. Reminiscent of a quad or a barleywine. This wonderful brew did the opposite of its name and reversed my curmudgeonly attitude about old ales.

 695 characters

Photo of Bauzen
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark, dreamy, reddish brown. Very dark...

Smells of malt, hops, and molasses.

First sip nods to everything I love about Founders KBS - The bourbon oak is distinctive. Add caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and hops, and you have an exceptional flavor that drinks far milder than you'd imagine from a 9.8% ABV. At the tail-end of the beer, I even noticed hints of banana and Irish creme. The flavor certainly evolves as you drink it.

Smoother and silkier than a 'breakfast stout' but just as satisfying without the motor-oil density. Finish is hefty and fulfilling. It's a meal substitute.

Theres a lot of depth and complexity to this Old Ale. Despite its mixed reviews, it's a great beer for someone who likes a dubbel with a bit more punch.

 740 characters

Photo of Decker
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 bottle. A: Amber clear body, no head and very little lacing.
S: malt and molasses that do very little to mask the booze. No hops.
T: Mellowed out molasses and malty sweetness that grow quietly as it warms. Alc. becomes more noticeable as well, but isn't a deterrent. Oak flavor is almost non-existent. Finishes mildly bitter with a feathering sting of alcohol.
B: Body is medium-thin, minimal carbonation that allows the molasses and booze to show up more. A little syrupy and sticky too.
O: just a whelming beer. Nothing extraordinary, but not insufficient either. A pleasant sipper that'll be curious to revisit with age.

 632 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a taster glass at the Haymarket Founders event.

Appearance: A dark cherry color, existing between hazy and transparent. An off-white head fades to a ring but leaves layers of lace.

Smell: Brandy and ethyl alcohol kick, with an earthy covering to the sweet dark fruit and malt aromas.

Taste: Sweet brandy, caramel malt, and some dark fruits. Figs, raisins, and plums. Sweet all the way through. Some light earthy flavors slowly coat the tongue, adding some depth and complexity. This definitely gets better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, brandy-like, with light to medium carbonation. Sticky, with a fuller than medium body.

Drinkability: A fun and complex beer. Sweet, with lots of bite, so I am not sure I could drink this all night.

 758 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Murky muddled ambrosia sits in my chalice large off white beige head that dwindles slow and leaves behind sparse lacing. Aromatics are the impressive part of the equation early on with herbal mint and pine scented incense, interesting spice mix almost like eating at an aromatic Indian restaurant. Malt highlights are deep alcohol infused ripened figs and plum with a touch of smoked peat whiskey highlights, talk about a cigar beer. By the way this thing never saw the barrel it's all malt, hop, water and yeast. Flavor provides excessive bitterness and massive malt, I love the mix. Alcohol esters with ripe big fruit profile includes hints of toffee with caramel infused tart apple, figs, and plum notes. Heavy pine lacquer bitterness, with vanilla oak and butterscotch notes. Heavy dry yeast tone with a soothing alcohol burn at 9.3%. Mouthfeel is full bodied yet doesn't hit the viscous level on my texture scale. Carbonation is natural smooth and cleansing between the brash bitterness and dry yeast profile. Ending notes on the palate are a blend of excessive malts and bitter earthy hop, great stuff. Drinkability, is excellent makes you overanalyze beer, for under three bucks this old ale may have pushed the style further than any other version I've had to date. Including the other famous Michigan version, this beats the pants off the Third Coast Old Ale, grab a Drew Estates Natural cigar and a four pack of this for an Old World experience.

 1,455 characters

Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle from a Dark Lord Day '07 trade with Sephiroth.

A: The ale is a dark brown color, akin to a black cherry cola. Head was sizeable, near two fingers, and looks to retain nicely. The ale is full of particles, suspended throughout and quite thick.

S: The nose, call me crazy, has the sickly sweet aroma of a bourbon barrel. The malts are concentrated to the near-strength of a barleywine, making the ale quite lush and thick.

T: You can't tell me that this isn't bourbon-barrel aged. I refuse to believe that a simple (relatively speaking, of course) malt bill can produce flavors of this depth. The malts are so strong that they create a sweet dry fruit flavor. The effect is most pronounced in barleywines but here is it near-extraordinary. Vanilla and alcohol warmth match the bourbon-like flavors, creating a very warm drink, a nice nightcap. I just can't get over the malt strength that creates that flavor, it is damn-near profound.

M: Dry green grapes, vanilla beans, sweet alcohol, this is one heck of a pleasing drink. This ale blurs the lines with a barleywine. Good drinkin'!

D: The ale's abv is high but the intense flavors create a beer that never disappoints in its power. Are you sure it isn't aged in a barrel?

 1,251 characters

Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,594 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!