Curmedgeon.  A bad-tempered, crusty, difficult, stubborn, (generally) old person.  The label depicts what looks to me like an old John Calvin (college located nearby brewery).  Perhaps Founders is suggesting that scholars should step away from the books every once and a while before they become old and senile.  In all seriousness though, this beer is excellent.

The head is dense and almost creamy as the reddish-beige hue rested atop the deep ruby red liquid.  It looked identical to the NCBC Old Stock Ale I had the night before so I figured the color is in good company.  As I sipped a foamy lace lined the glass and gave character.

The aroma of this beer is awesome.  Unlike most old ales or barleywines the abv is right up there to greet you.  This beer however restrains it beneath some amazing tannins, toffee, rich caramel, cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg, biscuit, autumn, and deep fruity grape notes.  Seriously, this beer has a lot going on.  Brewed with molasses and aged in oak for spell it creates a wide range of aromas to enjoy while sipping.  At times it smelled like an English Barleywind, others a pumpkin beer, and others a winter warmer.  The abv is mellow and at 9.8% it is hidden nicely behind all the malts.

I’ve found that I prefer Old Ales over Barleywines for their smooth and mellow texture while retaining a moderate-heavy mouthfeel.  As each sip passes over my palate I’m left with the huge malt bomb with some great spicy notes and dry oaky finish.  At cooler temps this finishes rather clean, but as you let it warm it is like finishing a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.  My mouth was dry and had a definite woodsy aftertaste.

If you want a bigger beer that is approachable and smooth without the harsh abv effects to the smell and taste, pick up a pack of old curmudgeon.  At the end of the night I promise…you will be far from ill-tempered.