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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) | Founders Brewing Company

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very good
1,267 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:
1,267
Ratings:
4,607
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
10.53%
 
 
Wants:
210
Gots:
1,134
For Trade:
53
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,267 | Ratings: 4,607
Photo of maedhros09
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Look: Dark ruby amber with big fluffy off-white head that takes some times to settle.
Smell: Definitely needs to warm up to pick up on the subtle aromas here. Caramel malt, molassas and a smidge of fruity alcohol...
Taste: I'm finding it hard to describe the taste. Partly its because it is so seamless - you can't tell where one fllavor ends and the next begins - but also it's kind of muted. Its this smooth sweetness that comes and goes, with a gentle afterglow of herbal hops. I imagine part of this is the barrel-aging. The alcohol is somewhere in there, obviously, but it isn't too obvious below cellar temps.
Feel: Medium body, very smooth slightly syrupy mouthfeel with subdued carbonation thanks to the high alcohol.

Overall: The Curmudgeon is mysterious in the way it keeps me coming back and trying to understand it. It is big, yet mellow. Strong, yet subtle and thin in a way. It definitely goes against Founders' reputation as makers of brash beers. All in all, though, it's hard to feel like I'm not missing something. I finish it feeling vaguely unsatisfied. Maybe it's the style. For malty goodness I have to admit I would rather crack open a Dirty Bastard.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this a few times before. Served in a snifter.

A: Pours a sumptuous ruby, mahogany color that is accompanied by a 1/4 inch tan head that lingers for a few minutes before dissipating completely. Has a few patches of lace but not much.

S: Incredible aroma, smells of licorice, oak, honey, caramel, plums, yeast, molasses, cinnamon, malts, spices

T: A quite sweet and flavorful beer. It's a bit syrupy but not overtly so, honey, oak, molasses predominate with tinges of plums, yeast, and cinnamon coupled with a slight alcoholic kick at the end.

M: Full bodied, slightly carbonated, very thick and rich. Drink slowly.

O: Conforming to all my other experiences with Founders beers, this was incredible. I rarely drink old ales, I know this is not my first but I can't remember my last but this one will always stick with me. Expensive yet it's nose and mouth candy, got to have this one.

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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.

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Photo of dheacck11
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice deep burnt orange color with thin head and scant lacing.

Honey, caramel, malt on the nose.

Little shot of scotch to start, followed by ripe wood, honeysuckle, some hints of molasses. Very gentle hoppiness. Not boozy at all

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a little bite at the end. Ends up feeling thicker than it actually is at first.

A solid old ale example, but could be a little more complex with the scotch flavors. Would also have liked a little bit more body, and to taste the booze a little bit...

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Photo of cooncat
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving from a 12 oz. bottle.

A vigorous pour produces a small tan colored head, but that is to be expected for this style. The head disappears almost immediately, but also to be expected. Color is almost an opaque dark ginger brown .. very dark. Nose is incredible with many mixed fruit aspects, including plums and apricots. Very sweet smelling, with some hint of the alcohol in the nose. First sip is like tasting ambrosia; wonderful fruit maltiness, with a hint of piney hops. The flavor is HUGE, and the alcohol presence is notable. The finish is sweet to the last drop, with no lingering after taste. Mouth feel is so full its almost 'chewy'. This is a perfect Winter Warmer, dessert beer, or excellent finish to a session.

Well done, Founders!
Prost!

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a brandy glass.

Appearance: Beer pours a dark copper color bordering on brown. Head is a light tan color, and very foamy. It recedes to a pangaea-like formation on the surface of the beer.

Smell: Hawaiian sweet bread, some gentle molasses. Great malt character. Some subtle purple fruit. What surprises me is that the extremely high ABV is virtually undetectable in the nose. I'm intrigued.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Crazy thick maltiness, with some nearly-cloying sweetness which is nearly balanced by the ester character of the brew. I can imagine myself in some 1700s pub on the shoreline, barking about the weather. This is heavy-duty. Finishes pretty wet, but the aftertaste is a gentle, beautiful sweetness. Undeniably well balanced for the strength.

Overall: I like it! It dances on the edge of Cloying Cliff but never crosses the rim. Any sweeter and it would have been terrible...as it is, amazing.

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Photo of engagechad
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single from Wine and Beer Westpark in Glen Allen, VA - DFH snifter

Pours a hazy amber yellow with a whippy looking head, very dense and thick, perfect lacing. Smells sharp and malty with minimal hop nose. Not very bitter on the tongue but just enough to balance. Mostly malty and a little boozy on the finish.

Overall this is a great beer, not dying to seek it out again but it is good just as everything else from founders has been

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Maple syrup color with some floatys that don't seem to settle to the bottom. The head forms up golden and big.
S: Great smell, I could get a good wiff before I was finished pouring the beer. Smells sweet and oaky. No bad odors and very complex.
T: Sweet maple with a good amount of oak flavor. The alcohol comes through a lot at the end but it isn't off-putting. Tastes good but the flavors seem to come together dare I say a little too well. I'm having trouble identifying one individually.
M: Sits perfect. Carbonation is perfect and some flavors really start to develop.

Overall another really great showing from Founders. I was a little disappointed by the taste which didn't really bring any identifiable flavors. The alcohol really plays a good role in this beer and the mouthfeel and smell are really spectacular. Definitely a beer to drink slowly.

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Photo of pinotboy007
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

From notes on 9/6/09 in Lexington, VA. Poured into a Pinot Noir glass:

A - Vigorous pour reveals a deep copper ale with a cream-colored cap and modest lacing.

S - Sort of like a Scotch ale; sweet leather, malts, mocha/vanilla.

T - Off sweet tea w/malt and peat; maybe even some banana and Indian cardamom. Seems a tad boozy. Not much heat.

M - Creamy and somewhat dense but still a bit refreshing.

D - The jury's still out; not sure how to rate it. I'd drink it again and I suspect it's better on tap.

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Photo of gregshead
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to jrsd for hooking me up with this one. Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed on 5/16/11:

A: Hazy red color. Very little to no head on this one

S: Bourbon/vanilla smells. Lots of sweetness

T: Some alcohol presence/burn at the end. Good caramel/vanilla flavors. Maybe some bitter hop flavors in the finish as well.

M: Syrupy smooth feel works with the flavors of this beer

O: Plenty of good flavors in this one. very drinkable old ale. I'm not used to that.

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Photo of jwhawkins81
2.87/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled Fresh

Aroma - Way sweet smell with no noticeable hop characteristics.

Appearance - Cloudy reddish brown with no I mean no carbonation.

Taste - Sweet cherries and then the bite of alcohol. This beer really needs to be sipped and also needs to hit the tip of your tongue. I got some raisin flavors near the end.

Mouthfeel - Not a light beer. Without carbonation this beer just lays there.

Drinkability - I can't imagine drinking more than one of these at a time. I hope this beers improves over the next three years in my cellar.

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Photo of emyers
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy deep amber-red with a thin off-white head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Rich caramel and toffee, figs, raisins, hints of chocolate. Some alcohol heat which works perfectly with the rest of the aroma. Some molasses in there as well. Aroma is complex and very rich overall. Excellent.

Taste: Similar to the smell with big caramel and toffee flavors along with some dark fruits, although not quite as rich and layered. Alcohol heat is actually hidden very well - you can tell the alcohol is there, but it never really comes of as "hot."

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, rich, and smooth. Low carbonation level. Excellent.

Overall: Founders kills it again. This is a great example of an old ale done right.

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Photo of Franz4
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a chalice 2011 version bottles 4/4/11

A- Pours a dark copper with just a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Beer is slightly translucent.

S- first hit consists of just a touch of heat, followed by some raisin and fig notes. Malt backbone is present, but it seems most of the nose is relatively muted.

T- Gets more complex as it warms. Sweetness up front followed by pine bitterness in the back of the mouth. Neither is overpowering and they are balanced quite nicely. Raisin and plum are also present, as well as just a touch of heat that was also noticeable in the nose.

M- carbonation greets you and then gives way to a pillowy, silky smooth feel that is very, very nice.

O- A very good beer that's a definite sipper. This is very enjoyable now, but I'm also anxiously anticipating how this one might age, if the dark fruits note come out and the heat dies down just a bit this could be a very quaffable brew--still a sipper, but a mighty fine sipper.

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Photo of RollBounce
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.75

bored with very little leasing slightly amber and cloudy notes smell is lately muted in glass with hints of cinnamon brown sugar and bread some tropical notes are found. Overall it is a white tropical compared to the aged old curmudgeon that I sat on for 2 years ahead papaya and mango now it's definitely better in the bottle but worth a try.

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Photo of chaz410
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow what a beer, I mean really, what a beer!! This beer pours cloudy and thick and seems like it's gonna be some sort of imperial brown ale. The smell is really sweet and smoot and has a crisp after effect. I love the tast of this beer, it is laced with vanilla and oak notes along with heavy malts. Caramel malt really rings out in this monster beer, it's really smooth too. I love this beer, share it with a friend and enjoy!

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Photo of timc100
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A: Crystal clear, very minimal beige head that leaves a very fine lacing. Very beautiful ruby amber color

S: Most literally smells 'old'. Brings to mind a kind of musty attic, doesn't smell as such merely brings the image to mind. All malt and some oak. Rustic wood and some vanilla, and the least-sweet caramel.

T: A lot bigger than the aroma prepares you for. Wood, caramel, and a decent amount of cocoa powder. Not very sweet at all aside from a bit of vanilla creaminess and the finish. Very smooth and well rounded and balanced.

P: Very smooth, medium-full bodied. Very soft carbonation - feels 'right'.

O: Really nice beer, but not a style I am drawn to and thus, not overly impressive. The molasses the oak addition helped make the beer fuller, at least I imagine it did. I can see a bourbon barrel doing wonders for this.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from a pal in Illinios. Thanks Tay.

Pours a deep and dark clouded burgundy with sticky lace and respectable head given it's strength.

The smell is vanilla syrup, oak, tabacco, and booze soaked fruits.

Taste is sweet and rich. The alcohol is so well hidden on this insulin-needed sweet-as-hell brew. Very complex and the flavors just explode. It's a barrage of slightly smokey-oaked-boozey and candied fruit flavors.

THe feel to me doesn't get much better than this. So silky smooth, lets call it "velvety". the perfect size:large body. perfect for savoring every SIP.

Wow! I continue to be impressed by the brews coming from Founders, but this may be the best. I can't wait to age a few of these bad boys.

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Photo of berkey
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured and reviewed from my usual tulip glass 10/05/10.

Pours a dark reddish amber color. Doesn't form much of a head but some decent lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as I rotate it.

Just a hair hoppier than typical for an old ale but the main aromas are of caramel with some slight toffee notes. Flavor adds a difficult to identify 'cookie'-like character and some slightly acrid bitterness. Pleasant enough but missing some of the richness and complexity I look for in the style.

This somehow manages to remain pretty easy drinking even though the alcohol isn't all that well hidden. A decent beer but not quite sure I can really say it's anywhere near some of the great Founders brews I've tried.

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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 SHDoyle
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Description: Dark amber, almost ruby, color with just a trace of white head. Aroma is powerful in this and you immediately get bourbon, molasses, caramel and brown sugar. The bourbon is very present in the taste as is the molasses which adds a nice sweetener to the malt. Mouthfeel isn't really velvety but is quite smooth all the same.

Suggested food pairing: A hearty beef stew

If you like this beer then you should also try: Old Stock Ale

Ideal time to drink this beer: After a long but successful day of hunting whales off the coast of New England. And I don't mean "whales" in the sense of a hard to acquire beer, I mean real, swimming, get-your-harpoon-ready, whales.

Overall: 4.5 (This beer is very good and I would definitely drink it again) Emblematic of the big flavors you usually find in a Founders beer, this one is solid from top to bottom. The molasses is the real star of the beer for me in that it adds another element or layer of complexity that you don't always find elsewhere. Despite the complexity, this beer still has an everyday, familiar, favorite pair of jeans feel for me. Maybe I have a special affinity for this beer as I come from a long line of curmudgeons and could very well be a curmudgeon myself some day. Who knows? Get off my lawn.

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Photo of Spica66
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Amber color. Slightly hazy (?) Very strange... Slight head and no retention.

S: Malt bomb! Wow. Smells molasses sweet with hints of caramel. Maybe just a hint of bittering hops, but not much.

T: Tastes just like it smells, but the hops are more present on the finish. Very nice.

M: Not sticky, like a lot of old ales tend to be, but also not really carbonated enough.

D: This beer tastes fine, but gives you a really good alcohol burn down in your esophagus. I doubt anyone would want more than one of these in a night.

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Photo of montageman
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Deep, cloudy amber/brown color with moderate white, foamy head that leaves a ton of lacing. A decent amount of carbonation bubbles are making their way to the surface as well.

S: Tropical fruit? Some coconut & pineapple? Doesn't seem likely, but that's what I'm sensing. There's definitely some fruit here as well as some sweetness. Finally, there's a bit of grape (wine), also. Very intriguing,

T: The complexity of the nose leads to disappointment in the taste. By no means is this bad, but the fruitiness just doesn't translate. There is some fruity sweetness and nice dry, creamy roasted finish.

M: Slight chewiness, which is nice for this style. The body is definitely full with some creaminess and good carbonation.

D: For an old ale at 9.3%, this is quite nice. A good sipping beer for a lazy afternoon or an after dinner treat. Recommended.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of the first beers I put down in my cellar. 2012 bottle. Served chilled in a Blind Tiger Brewery snifter.

Appearance: Poured down the side produced a ring of white sudsy head that stuck around. Dark reddish brown body. Lots of little sediment flakes could be seen floating around.

Aroma: Heavy sweet malts; boozy plums, dates, molasses and leather. Also a very nice butterscotch note.

Taste: Follows the nose. Lots of sweet malts; caramel, molasses, and the nice butterscotch. Boozy plums and floral alcohol. Also a surprising hop presence with a lingering alcohol bite.

Mouthfeel: Very warming. Has a low carbonation with and almost syrupy medium mouthfeel.

Overall: I opened this one a bit before the two year mark since I’ve heard it does not age very well. However, this is drinking quite fine at the moment and I think it could keep progressing. Lots of nice sweet maltyness, floral alcohol and a surprising hop bite. Recommend stock for your cellar.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours red with orange highlights and a two finger off white head. Aroma is molasses, alcohol, dark fruit, and a touch of cough syrup. Taste is dark fruit, molasses, a bit of cough syrup, alcohol, and a hint of oak. Mouthfeel is medium. Overall an interesting beer, and a style I could get into for winter.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz single purchased for me by a friend at Jungle Jim's in Ohio. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy light brown color with some orange highlights and a fair amount of floaties. It has a light covering of bubbles that disappear almost as fast as they arrive. The ring of bubbles leaves a tiny amount of lacing until they finally disappear.

S: The main aroma is of bourbon. Is this one barrel aged? Luckily I love bourbon, because I am not picking up much of anything else in this one.

T: A nice caramel malt sweetness when it initially hits the tongue. Just a slight about of hop bitterness to balance the malt. Hints of bourbon in the flavor add a bit of complexity. This is a good example of an Old Ale that definitely has some individuality over its barleywine cousins.

M: Nice medium body with a creamy carbonation that makes it smooth.

D: Compared to the few Old Ales I have had, this one goes down extremely easy. No alcohol burn at all.

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Founders Curmudgeon (Old Ale) from Founders Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 4,607 ratings.
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