Old Curmudgeon | Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

5 Ratings

Brewed by:
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Truh on 01-16-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5 |  Reviews: 5
Photo of tmoneyba
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft in a snifter at RB Cincy.

A - Poured a clear ruby color with an average creamy off-white head that mostly lasted with good lacing.

S- Moderate roasted earthy malt aroma.

T - Medium earthy bittersweet flavor with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

M - Medium body with a smooth texture and soft carbonation.

D - Good brew and I would recommend to a freind.

 381 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bronzed apricot jam with citrine and topaz accents. The beautiful, gem-like color of the beer was superior to the relatively short-lived, pastel gold head. The foam faded to a thin film at the two-minute mark and left no more than a few patches of smeary lace.

The nose was low on power, at least initially, and didn't seem very old ale-like. It was good enough to earn an above average score, however. Light caramel malt shared the spotlight with fruity hops. Note: I've just reviewed the old ale style description and OC fits after all.

With that in mind, Old Curmudgeon is a better than decent version. I'm not sure why, but it struck me as English somehow. I'm nowhere near good enough to have identified the Maris Otter malt (also present are pale, extra dark caramel, Caramalt, Victory and Special B). I'm also nowhere near good enough to have identified the Goldings hops (also present are Amarillo and Willamette).

The primary flavors were toast, toffee and tea. The fruitiness of the hops became better defined with warming and I was able to pick out the tropical fruitiness of the Amarillo in the bottom third of the pint. There was a good mix of (slightly) sweet and (slightly) bitter, with less of the former and more of the latter than in most high-ABV old ales.

My impressions in the brewpub were that this offering tasted more like an English brown ale or even a more bitter, less sweet Oktoberfest. In the end, it worked and it was enjoyable, but it just didn't stack up favorably with the best of the style.

I've gone back and forth at least a dozen times on the mouthfeel. On the positive side, it was as smooth as glass and had a lightly slick, clingy feel. On the negative side, it was too light. Given the ABV constraints, however, I've decided to reward it with the higher of the two considered scores. Besides, the carbonation was spot-on.

Being a brewer in this state must be incredibly frustrating because of the 6.2% ABV law. Barleywines? Sorry. Russian Imperial Stouts? Nope. Quadrupels? Uh-uh. Old Curmudgeon works pretty well as a lower ABV old ale, but that isn't a combination that any of us should be forced into brewing or drinking. Live free or die!

 2,189 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caught a few pints before going to the Cincinnati-Washington NFL game. Always knowing that their rotationals / seasonals are special treats, I was happy to learn that this Christmas Ale was currently being served.

Delivered in a brandy sniffer, the beer forms a thin, creamy film atop a lavishly rich, dark-brown hue with some ruby highlights mixed in.

Aromas of earthy, sweet malts take the foreground while mild fruits of grapes, dates, figs, and berries follow a bit later. Light tartness and modest alcohols bring up the rear. Very inviting to the nose.

Flavors of malts also dominate. While being a bit wort-like, the beer has a defiant, sweet barley flavor with some roasted toffee, nutty, molassas flavors rounding out the maltiness. Again, light but present fruit flavors bring out a yeasty ester profile that gives a much-needed complexity to the richness and sweetness. the phenolic smoky, spicy notes are too slight to add anything meaningful to the beer, not that it has to; but this spiciness could also help to balance out the heavy malt profile.

A part-malty, part-sugary texture gives the beer a weight and residual sugar feel, buffered only by the creaminess of the carbonation. A nice mouthfeel that, as most Scottish Ales do, are limited by the weight of the barley. Alcohols give an accent to the sweetness while warming the throat and thinning the beer into drinkability. The reasonable ABV never offends.

All in all, this is a wonderfully brewed beer that has very few flaws. Very consistant from sip to finish. A higher peaty, phenolic character could add complexity, but not necessary for the style. A must drink beer for any BeerAdvocate in the area this Christmas season.

 1,713 characters

Photo of DesMoinesMike
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first "old ale" I've ever tried and wow, does it stick to your tongue.

Curmudgeon is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as "An ill-tempered person full of resentment and stubborn notions" which is fitting because the brew won't budge on flavor or mouthfeel.

It poured an extreamly dark red, with a very thin white head that left a lot of lacing. The aroma had notes of vanilla, but not much else. The taste was a vanilla/caramel mix. The body, thick and malty. The flavor seemed to stick to my tongue, and it got heavier as my glass emptied. It did not let up, nor be easy to deal with. A real curmudgeon.

 632 characters

Photo of Truh
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Yelled at the whippersnappers to slow it down with this one on 1/16/2004. 16-oz. (?) pour in a goblet at the Boston location.

Listed on the board at 6.8% abv and described as a "Strong ale spiced with cinamon [sic], cloves and ginger." Loose, light covering of tinny bubbles at start, and little to no lacing. Apple cider hue and converse lack of clarity; but juicy looking, like an overripe apple. Cinnamon and cloves are the chief rivals on the nose, with a mulled cider sweetness, or hot toddy, that is imported as well. Hello, cloves and nutmeg run rampant on the mouth – almost seems like this could be classified as a spice ale given how overwhelming the toss-ins are. Medium body, but the spices just kill so I wouldn't venture more than one of these.

 762 characters

Old Curmudgeon from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 5 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.