Founders Brewing Co – Old Curmudgeon Ale

Trying to figure out when to drink a beer can be really confusing.  I have somewhat bought into the notion that you drink certain beers in specific seasons.  I think it’s safe to say I didn’t have a single Hefe over the entire winter.  I had a ton of porters, stouts, and other dark beers during that time though.  I felt like you don’t drink light and refreshing beers.  I really turned into the bear who was going into hibernation for the winter.  Now that we are heading into summer I’ve kind of given up on the big rich dark beers.  It’s not that I don’t like them or anything, but I have felt a little like they wouldn’t feel as good drinking after a long hot day at school.  Therefore, I have kind of put off drinking this beer.  It isn’t a stout or anything so dark, but it is a pretty dark and boozie beer that I have kind of put in that winter category.

Old Curmudgeon is brewed in the style of an old ale.  Old ale is a style of beer I’m not really all that familiar with.  It’s one that I’ve had before, but it isn’t one that I set about to buy or drink very often.  Of course, when you hear Founders released something, you can’t help but jump at the opportunity to drink it.  Old ales, also known as stock ales, were transferred to vats back in the day for aging.  Hence the reason they were referred to as old ales.  They typically were quite old.  Founders states that their specific edition is brewed with molasses, a big malt profile, and aged in oak barrels.  As I said, it’s a beer that has some age behind it.

This one pours out a very orangey brown color with some slight hints of red in it.  There is some rather light head that develops on top of the beer; however, it dissipates rather quickly.  There is a lot of light lacing on the side of the glass; however, the sticky residue remnants are quite ample.  The beer is quite hazy; although you can definitely see through it some, and you can see some very light carbonation in the glass as well.

There are a few overwhelming aspects to the aroma of the beer.  I get a lot raisins, figs, and other rich dark fruit on the nose.  They have a sticky sweetness to them.  Another really apparent smell is the quite boozy scent that the beer gives off.  I can’t say I was entirely all that surprised by the very apparent aroma of alcohol.  One smell that I get, although I’m a little surprised by it, is a light aroma of cinnamon.  The finish is a very slight spicy aroma.

The most striking aspect of the taste is the very apparent boozy flavor.  It pretty much invades the entire palate.  The beer starts with some very sweet malts.  These malts have some really big fig and raisin flavors to them.  Surprisingly, the fig and raisin flavors really stick with the developments of the different tastes in the flavor profile.  I think this is also the nature of the molasses combined in there. The biggest hit of booze follows the fig; however, the booze is quickly met by some ample hops.  If you’re not looking for them, you may not notice the fact that there are so many hops here.  They blend quite well with the alcohol bite.  That light hit of cinnamon follows, which I’m still slightly confused by. I’m thinking it might be a little bit of that oaky flavor from the aging. I don’t know if I’m getting something that isn’t actually there.  The finish has a lot of the remaining raisin and booze with a lot of hops on the aftertaste.

There is some moderate carbonation at the start of the beer.  This is the met by some of the big booze.  The high amount of alcohol combines with a lot of the syrup on the ending to really give the beer a very rich and sweet quality.  I really like the fact that they didn’t back off on the hops on this one.  It really compliments the sweet and boozy nature of the way the beer starts off.  It is a quite nice blend of favor.

Founders makes a lot of great brews, but I’m not sure if this is my favorite brew of theirs; however, it is still a really good one.  I only bought a single of this, but I don’t think I would really want to have a bunch more of these.  I think it’s good, but it’s a style I would want to save for another time.  Of course, I would be interested to see what a little cellaring would do to this one.  I could put it right next to my Backwoods Bastard.

Teacher Grade: B

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