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: 1,275 | Ratings: 4,629
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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

Thanks to sephiroth for the chance to try this beer. It has been aged for one year.

A: pours a dark copper/rust color with a small half finger offwhite head. I can see “pulp”-like stuff floating around.

S: kinda malty, but also dark fruits. I can smell the alcohol

T: definitely some dark fruit action going on here, but its mostly covered up by the malt. The yeast could be belgian? I dunno maybe it’s american. Wait a second, did I just taste cinnamon...ginger spices too? Woah...Nice.. What a complex beer.

M: meduim bodied, the alcohol takes its place in the taste and on the mouth and throat.

D: I like it. I’d say for 9.3 percent, I feel like I could drink a lot of these.

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

Alright, I’ll be honest…I have no idea what an Old Ale is. One thing I do know, though, is that Founders probably does it well. Cheers to trying new styles!

Bottled a little over six months before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED: 04/09/11”).

A: Cool color; a bright, carrot-juice orange. And with a mostly opaque body, it actually looks like carrot juice. Silky, off-white head with light retention. Lacing is sparse, but creamy. Looks thick.

S: Dark fruits first: raisin, peach, and apricot, all in front of a mild alcohol aroma. Malts are big and caramely, with an inescapable undercurrent of grain husk. Breads on the end, mixing with the fruits to form a lovely toast-with-apple-butter scent. A strong, pleasant nose.

T: Syrupy-sweet fruits, dark and strong, lay smooth on the tongue with each sip: fig and raisin on a caramel backdrop. The taste of vanilla and toffee sprawls out in the background, as well as a grainy, hoppy bitterness; it’s a smooth husk and a slight pine tart that comes in quite nicely. A darkly malty, slightly dry flavor drives this aftertaste to a mild end. This is an excellent beer – the flavor combinations are right up my alley.

M: Usually, Founders has some very bubbly brews; luckily, this isn’t one of them. Smooth and thick, this has the perfect drinkability without drawing any attention from the palate.

O: This is an awesome style; some of my favorite flavors in one bottle. If this particular beer is a good representation of an Old Ale, I can assure you that I’ll be attacking this style with full force. Can’t wait for Kaiser Curmudgeon!

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Photo of soupyman10
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UPDATE - 11/02/08: Threw this one under my bed (I use complex ageing systems) and left it for six months. Tried it again and WOW. Totally different flavor than when I had it fresh. Huge whiskey flavors and aromas flying all over the place. Really an incredible drink. Still crazy sweet, but no alcohol at all, just that sort of musky aroma the burbon gives off. I'd like to try cellaring more of these to see what happens...

Pours a nice amber brown color with a finger of slightly off-white head that dissolves to a fine film fairly fast. Solid looking, although the lacing is fairly non-existent. Nose is strong, full of toffee and caramel. Some sweet dried fruit in there too, and maybe a touch of spicy hoppy alcohol. Flavor is spicy and acidic. Quite vinous, with raisins and a sort of acidic aftertaste. Again, principally strong toffee malt but with a nice fruity background as well. A highly sweet beer, and fairly alcoholic (the 9.3% is fairly well hidden in the fruit and spiciness though). Body is medium with very mild, smooth carbonation, as is fairly standard for the style (and for a beer this high in alcohol). Overall, a very tasty one, although the ABV might keep me from having more than one or two. A very good dessert beer. I'm going to try cellaring one and see if the spiciness mellows at all.

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

Reviewed from notes as I enjoyed this on-tap at La cave Du Vin several weeks ago now. Served to me in a tulip glass. This beer is a dark amber/copper color with a tan head that was about 1/2 inch thick when served. It eventually sets to a medium sized white ring lining the inside of the glass. Good lacing. Has a malty caramel aroma with strong hints of some dark fruit and oak. Has a caramel malt flavor along with the oaked flavor and some dark fruit which is a bit tart and maybe a hint of spice and a bit of alcohol. Has a very crisp, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink.


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

My girlfriend recently sent me home with an entire box of goodies out of her collection. She raves about Founders pretty frequently, and she specifically pointed the Curmudgeon out as one I might like. I will forgo my usual vaguely witty review conceit, because I don't feel like calling anyone a whippersnapper. Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I am listening to this song as I type:

Poured 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Lovely amber color. The one finger tan head receded quickly to just a halo.

Malt is the first six things I smell. After all that, a bit of caramel and toffee coming through. Raisins and alcohol are both in there, too; making me think of fruitcake.

Very malt-forward again, which makes sense. Raisins, scotch, and that caramel/toffee again. I can taste the booze, but it stops just short of off-putting. A little bit of hop bitterness at the back end, again just enough.

Mouthfeel is creamy, with mild carbonation. Goes down easy for almost 10%, though that's probably the highest ABV I'd find pleasant unless it were masked REALLY well.

Founders has definitely earned my repeat business. Got quite a few of these, actually, so I'm gonna see how they age.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. This is a bottle I pulled from my cellar, and is about a year old.

Pours a cloudy light brown/red color with very little head.

Smells of whiskey, vanilla, pepper and spice, bitter apple.

Tastes of vanilla, cinnamon, cream, whiskey, oak, bitter fruit.

This is an excellent beer...very warming, but not overly alcoholic (in the taste, anyway). It is well balanced, malty, and has some very good oak and whiskey notes. It is pungent and delicious, and therefore one to be savored.

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Photo of Buck89
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep amber color with an off white head. Smells of caramel, molasses, cedar and oak. Taste is comples with caramel, mollases followed by earthy bitter notes and oak. Finish is thick and long, with sweet oak and caramel. Very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of scotorum
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No dates visible.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear dark amber with a finger thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and nearly solid lacing.

s: Caramel malt.

t: Heavy caramel malt over hops and alcohol. Sweet taste with hop/alcohol balance reminds that this was made with molasses. Almost bourbonlike.

m: Full and smooth.

o: A fine fall-winter warming sipper, although Founders releases it in the Spring.

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Photo of LAp
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours an almost clear ruby-amber (lighter than expected given the depth of the nose). A think 3 finger head quickly rises and recedes slowly, leaving gorgeous lacing. Rich oak and molasses right off the bat. Scotch and bourbon notes round out the nose, with a hint of dark fruit (dark grape and cherry). Nosed from the somewhat more open rim of the tulip however, lighter notes come through (hop, pine, and even a vague hint of raspberry). Palate is oak, loads of malt, with a hop bite on the backend that is unexpectedly prominent. Mouthfeel is closer to thin or medium than the thicker, chewy beer I would have anticipated, certainly lighter than expected. Overall not quite was I was predicting when I cracked the cap, but a good beer nonetheless. I would have appreciated a little more body, and a little more oak in the character, but it's a beer that's true to the style without exemplifying its highlights in any unique ways. I would have to try another bottle though to really resolve my feelings on whether or not the thinness of the body and lack of nuance of the malt palate weigh this beer down to a lower rating that I've given it here.

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

Poured from a bottle dated in mid April of 2012. Poured into a tulip tasting glass.

A: A medium to dark amber color with a one finger eggshell colored head. Not much glass lacing.

S: Loads of brown sugar, caramel, earthiness, oak, maple syrup and some dark fruits.

T: Loads of brown sugar start off that is sweet, but not overly so. The brown sugar mixes with caramel, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses and some slight dark fruits. Some nice earthy woody tones come in near the finish but stay sweet. Slight floral hop, but barely there. Sweetness lingers, but it's far from cloying. Alcohol is tasted, but not overly so for the abv.

M: Full, coating, sweet, smooth and some alcohol.

O: A real nice old ale that is different from the rest. The beer is on the sweeter side, but not cloying sweet, it's just right. Very drinkable for the ABV and I really enjoyed it.

Another winner from Founders, like I expected anything else. I'm surprised it took me so long to review this since I'm a huge Founders fan. I really enjoyed this one as a change of pace and it will be in my fridge in years to come. I'll let one age, but I have a feeling this one is better fresh as the sweetness may intensify.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to fogdog for this bottle.

Appearance: Pours a murky, dark reddish-amber, with a slowly-coagulating, creamy, khaki-colored head. Lots of suspended yeast sediment floating around. Head doesn't last long; becomes a wispy ring of bubbles. Leaves decent lace.

Smell: Dark berries, molasses, oak, fruity esters, bready yeast, raisins and spices. As I sit here sniffing it, the dark fruits and bread aromas really start coming forth. Maybe a little bourbon as well. Great balance and mixing, though I wish it were a tad stronger.

Taste: Lots of warm bread, caramel, and spice. Dark fruit flavors are there but a bit subdued, especially when compared to the smell. Sweet molasses and bourbon flavors fill in very nicely. Flavors meld very well, just like in smell.

Mouthfeel: Slick and somewhat syrupy, yet watery. Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Feels a bit gritty with all of the yeast sediment. Great mouth-numbing and good warming as well.

Drinkability: A milder flavor and smell than I'm used to, thus making it more than just a sipper. Not the best old ale I've had, but one that's worth a try. Wish there was a little more umph to it.

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

Pours a nearly opaque amber with very thin, whispy white head.
Smells strongly of malt, some bitter hop, and syrup.
Taste is incredibly smooth, I believe the maple heavy body coats the tounge and hides the 9.8% well, but it is very close overpowering.
The aftertaste is incredibly sweet and enjoyable.
Highly drinkable.

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

12oz to snifter pours a reddish amber brown, cream colored head faded to lacing - looks nice

smells of oaky caramel spice, barley, sweet and deep, slight alcohol heat - amazing!

taste is of bourbon, oak, caramel, creamy smoothness, very balanced, vanilla, slight alcohol heat, hops are nice - subdued but not lacking, bitterness pops out the most, flavor is blended nicely

mouthfeel is slightly hot and oily but not overtly, loads of flavor, yum! makes me want to age more

way better than last years batch :D

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

On tap @ Mission Dolores (Park Slope, Brooklyn)

Dark brown beer with a foamy full head. Smells malty, sweet, alcoholic, and heavy.

Taste is sweet with a hint of bitterness but mostly a biting alcoholic note that really ends warm on the tongue. Makes my head fuzzy right away and fills me with warm cheer. Great brew!

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

Bottled 04/19/12. Into a snifter.

Pours a translucent dark copper ruby color. Buttermilk-colored head of an inch with coarser bubbles in the surface middle. 4.0

Buttery toffee, rich caramel, booze, dried fig, cherry, and woody bitterness. Drier aroma than the '10 that I've had. This old ale is all dressed up for prom, so far. 4.0

Toffee sweet with buttercream, brandied fruits, mince meat, caramel sauce, throat lozenge, vanilla, light maple, swatches of oak barrel, hint of coconut, and spruce tips from the hops. A malt dream. The alcohol isn't overwhelming, and the hops are there but shadowed marvelously by rich fruity malts. Wonderful. 4.5

Mouth-filling body. Medium-thick. Light fizz, in accordance to style. I'm gulping this a little bigger than I ought to. 4.0

For a beer that I love and have enjoyed many times in the past, I believe this to be the first time I've ever had it fresh (not used to tasting prevalent hops in this beast). While it is sublime with a year and more, fresh Curmudgeon is its own wonder. In fact, fresh Curmudgeon reminds me a lot of aged Backwoods Bastard. Recommended! And, I can't wait to finally do that side-by-side. 4.0

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

A big beer for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

10 ounce goblet - $9.00 at Taco Mac in Canton, Georgia.

Appearance: Dispensed into a simple, all-purpose goblet a hazed, mahogany-hued body with a scant, white head.

Smell: A rich, invitingly malty nose smelling of caramel, chunks of toast, and brown sugar stirred up into cake batter. Fruity notes of citrus, cherries, and green raisins punctuated by some stinging alcoholic wafts.

Taste: The lush, tempting sweetness of heavily caramelized sugars with additional tastes of toasted bread, light brown sugar, and spiced holiday cake. The fruitiness from the aroma is well-represented in a taste of raisins marinated in cherry liqueur and spiced with a bit of dried orange peel. Moderate bitterness provides a bit of balance, though this one remains fairly on the sweet side of things. Soft, sweet finish with plenty of alcohol warmth rolling in.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body, with a mouthfeel both smooth and a bit sticky. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Bold AND beautiful. A quality sipper, even on a day in South filled with 100-degree heat and 100-percent humidity.

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

Pours sediment-free, brown-amber hue with small white head. A gorgeous scent of cranberries, caramel, spice, slight egg nog, and a buttery, vanilla cream character. Whew! Tasty stuff. That buttery vanilla cream begins and lingers through to the aftertaste. Toffee, caramel, spice, dried apple skins, sweet alcohol seeps through the thick flavors during the finish mostly. Light carb in body with a mildy thick, syrupy mouthfeel. This is a dangerously tasty ale at over 9% ABV and wonderful to sit down with and consider closely.

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

Poured into a snifter. Dark ruby red colored and unfiltered. Not a lot of carbonation bubbles and the head says the same thing, very small and no retention. Lace isn't sticking.

Smell is sweet caramel and burnt sugars. Alcohol and medium roasted malts. Quite nice!

Taste is like chocolate and caramel nougat. With a huge alcohol burn after. The sweets are really fantastic. I wasn't expecting any chocolate or dark malts to this, but it is an interesting twist to an old ale/barleywine. As this warms there is even some coffee and charred wood. Really nice!!

Mouth is rich and chewy. Quite complex all the way to the end. The layers of this are so fantastic. Sticky sweet to alcohol burn are quite remarkable.

Overall I was very surprised by this. Kind of a barley wine meets the roasts of a barrel aged stout. That is a bit dramatic but not far off. Thanks to davesway10 for this extra.

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Photo of ZBowden
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear deep honey brown small tan head, smells of molasses coffee and caramel, tastes of hops and slight coffee caramel malts bittered by oak and the high alcohol content, rich silky mouthfeel very light carbonation,

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Photo of RickyS
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Creamy/yellowish head and dark amber beer. Very sweet on the nose with hints of spices, molasses, malts, toffee. The taste is also very sweet with a medium finish leaving a honey aftertaste. Little carbonation, creamy and thick. Very nice beer for the style and overall.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,629 ratings.
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