Lizard Of Koz | Founders Brewing Company

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Lizard Of KozLizard Of Koz
Very Good
Lizard Of KozLizard Of Koz

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This one is near and dear to our hearts. Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki wanted to make the birthday of his little sister, Liz, a special one. So he did what he does best and brewed a stout using a few of her favorite ingredients: fresh Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels to round out those beautiful flavors. Liz was floored and we think you will be too.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 286 | Ratings: 909
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

More User Reviews:
Photo of Philsadvns
1.45/5  rDev -62.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1

I absolutely hate this beer. Sorry founders, you usually do a good job but this is a total miss. Way too strong on the blueberries. Not enough traditional stout flavors such as chocolate or coffee or toasted malt. It's waaaaay too sweet. It's waaaaay too blueberry. I get where they were going but they screwed it up big time. I cannot stand this beer. It was a struggle to finish the bottle, but I refuse to waste a $20 bottle of beer.

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Photo of bobhits
1.7/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I'll just get right to this one. Yes good looking beer from a good brewery.

The nose is sweet with blue berries shockingly there and not just there but they're sweet? Yes some chocolate and vanilla and bourbon along with roasted malts.

The flavor is insanely sweet, to the point I can't really understand it. It was as if they were going for some kind of fruit beer with a stout malt. Blue berries in nature are very sour, they aren't super sweet. A good stout is balanced by dark roast and bitter hops. Even chocolate is bitter. Vanilla should add a bit of sweet but not this much. This isn't the worst beer but they should have called it something other than a stout or said it was a "sweet stout". Just way over the top on the sugars.

The mouth feel was good and got most of the bigger stout notes right. Still the sugars leave it a bit off in my mind.

I'm sorry but at this price point (18-19) this is horrible. The score reflects that price as well as the bad description. This is becoming a theme form founders where they over sugar and artificially (tasting at least) enhance the sweetness of these releases. The end result is beer that varies from interesting to horrible. They are just not even coming close to making great beer these days. This is a HUGE pass.

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Photo of 98green
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap. Do not get this one if you are looking for "subtle." It is all vanilla and syrupy sweet blueberry. Some nice barrel in the nose but the sweet blows it away in the taste. This is a desert beer if ever there was one. I had an 8 oz pour and it was plenty. If you have s bomber, find some friends to split it

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Photo of imnotarobot
2.04/5  rDev -47%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

This beer tastes like the blueberry girl from Willy Wonka took a s**t into a barrel which they aged with the childhood cough syrup that haunts your nightmares. Disaster.

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Photo of bsp77
1.78/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Nice aroma of blueberry, chocolate, vanilla and Bourbon. Taste is nowhere close to the aroma, as all it tastes like is exceedingly sweet, mildly tart, blueberries. I enjoyed the Miller Golden Draft Light I had last night more. And I just drain poured a $20 beer. Fuck

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Photo of toca
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - Really dark with 1 finger of head and some minor lacing left on top of the brew

S - Dark sugar, molasses and chocolate

T - surprisingly sweet. Hints of blueberries and chocolate. Faint vanilla and bourbon flavors

F - Medium to heavy body, with light carbonation

O - If you are in the mood for a beer on the sweeter side and notes of chocolate, this is the one

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Photo of JohnnyMc
2.98/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours out a pitch black with a massive dark brown head.

Aroma is tart, fresh blueberries followed by lots of chocolate, hint of vanilla, some sweetness and zero bourbon or barrel notes.

Taste starts off with lightly tart, very fresh and real tasting blueberry notes that get swept away by huge amounts of sweet, sweet milk chocolate, There is some almost molasses and just sugary notes in general, very sweet, cloying, no bourbon, no barrel, some vanilla sweetness. Just incredibly sweet.

Full bodied, creamy mouthfeel and no trace of alcohol.

Disappointed this is their last Backstage Series release. No bourbon, no barrel and a messy sweet beer. Too sweet, too cloying, too expensive.

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Photo of Grand-Raggedy
2.59/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Way too sweet for my taste. It had a very similar taste to mixing breakfast stout and Rubaeus- which was not good. Waste of $20 from a brewer who is generally very solid.

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Photo of maximum12
1.4/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Jazzed to find this on tap at the Boulder Tap House in Mankato, MN. 10 oz. pour with dinner.

Every see “A Night at the Roxbury?” Trying to drink this is like having that noxious movie in your mouth. It’s black. It’s full of tart, under-ripe blueberry that clashes with a sharp, unpleasant bitterness & the fullness of the malts. Zero bourbon presence. Nothing about this is good, & the ingredients seem determined to fight tooth & nail.

I left 5 of 10 ounces behind – couldn’t finish it. I’m the guy who’ll eat my way through any blueberry patch I come across – it once took me almost an hour to finish a 50 foot portage with my canoe because of these little buggers – but I don’t eat the nasty, green, bitter ones. That’s what it tastes like they used in this beer. Truly bloody awful.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Pitch black, topped by a frothy, creamy tan head. The head is so thick and creamy it almost looks nitro. The retention is eternal and the lacing beautiful.

S: Milk chocolate, bourbon, toasted coconut, vanilla, and faint hints of blueberry.

T: Milk chocolate, tons of tart blueberry, creamy vanilla, very subtle bourbon. The blueberry flavor is very tart and fresh, and balances out the sweetness very well. Finishes shockingly crisp and clean. Not cloying whatsoever.

F: The lighter side of medium. Creamy, well-carbonated, but very smooth and light. It feels like a nitro beer, too.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"[Beer brewed with] fresh Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels." "Imperial stout."

BOTTLE: Shelled out $25 for this in Brooklyn. (I've heard it's as low as $17.99 in other states, and I've seen it as high as $27.99 in Queens.) Brown glass. Label art depicting a reptile. Branded black pry-off crown cap. Large format bottle.

10.50% ABV.

HEAD: Thick and fudgy, with a tan colour, soft appearance, and rich consistency. Complexion isn't great, lacking the gilded shine of the best imperial stout heads (KBS amongst them). Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes, which takes about 8-10 minutes - not too shabby at 10.50% ABV.

BODY: Predictably, it's an opaque jet black true to style. I see no yeast/lees within. Seems filtered.

Appears well-carbonated. Not a unique or special appearance for an imperial stout, but within conventions and generally appealing.

AROMA: Tart blueberry is there - actual blueberry, not just the subtle hint thereof one would find in a Mosaic hop IPA. Vanilla is present but faint; I'd hoped it would be more vivid, evoking genuine vanilla bean instead of the vanillin you get from bourbon/oak barrel character. Chocolate is in there but it's just as reticent, blurring together with the generic chocolate malt sweetness. Dark malt sweetness runs throughout, the glue that holds this together. That's it for the base. I already have concerns about depth of flavour, but it seems pretty well balanced and adequately complex.

Turning to the barrel character, it's also seemingly reticent and shallow judging by the aroma. Is this really a bourbon barrel aged beer from the same brewery that makes KBS and Backwoods Bastard? There's a hint of bourbon barrel primarily via some vanillin, but the rich white oak, barrel sugars, and toasted coconut you'd find in the best bourbon barrel aged beers isn't here at all. I will note that the barrel aromatics do improve as the beer comes to temperature, bringing out chewy notes of oak that help the blueberry sing.

Blueberry is the stand-out note in this otherwise straightforward imperial stout aroma, helping set this apart from the pack. But the rudiments don't seem to be in place, and I wonder if the blueberry will be enough to make this a memorable expression of the style.

Aromatic intensity is merely average. Suggests a reticent imperial stout, but not a boozy or off-flavour-riddled one.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Founders committed to the blueberries, and the result is remarkable, with the bursts of berry harmonizing well with the chocolate - even though the chocolate isn't as vivid or interesting as would be ideal. Closer to a cheap Hershey's syrup chocolate flavour than a powdery cocoa/rich Belgian chocolate flavour, to its detriment. Blueberry tartness on the finish extends flavour duration substantially; I can still taste the blueberry a good half-minute after each sip.

Finding any vivid vanilla proves difficult; I do get some, but it seems to be more artificial, emerging from vanillin in the barrel instead of genuine vanilla bean.

Dark malt and chocolate malt sweetness hold this build together. A soft yet chewy mouthfeel combined with a silky smooth texture supports the flavour profile neatly, and this beer avoids the pitfalls of chalkiness or powderiness that plague many a chocolatey imperial stout. Still, it's heavy on the palate, and it's a filling full-bodied brew that's something of a sipper, even if its alcohol presence is well checked.

The bourbon barrel character is, in a word, disappointing. Where Founders commits to the bourbon in beers like KBS and Backwoods Bastard, they shy away from it here. (I have to question just how long this actually spent aging; I doubt it's anywhere close to a year). A hint of vanillin is really all I get. This lacks basic recognizable bourbon barrel flavours like barrel sugars and toasty rich white oak, let alone nuanced flourishes like coconut. Maybe the bourbon they selected wasn't stellar; maybe they didn't age this long enough.

Balance-wise, it's a little too sweet. It's also a bit too syrupy and thick, but I'll take that over watery and thin. Not a gestalt whole of a beer or one that unifies barrel and base to good effect, but enjoyable.

OVERALL: I'd implore Founders to put any ~10% ABV imperial stout, barleywine, etc. in small format bottles instead of these cash-grab bombers. No one wants to take down a 22oz of a beast of a beer.

This beer might be worth revisiting if offered in 4 packs around the $10-$12 range, but it's abysmally priced for its quality even at $18 per 22oz bottle.

Expectations run high when Founders puts out a bourbon barrel imperial stout, but taking this beer on its own terms, price aside, it's nice for what it is. Blueberries work, and help set this apart, but deeper more vivid flavours are needed for this to hold a candle to the big dogs, and they've got to iron out the wrinkles in its (im)balance.

B- (3.38) / WORTHY

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Photo of Masonz223
4.53/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smell: vanilla blueberry milk chocolate coffee.

Taste: upfront you get a tart blueberry flavor but then in the mid palate it turns completely to sweet blueberry almost like blueberry pie vanilla and milk chocolate also come through in the finish you get a hint of coffee but then it's just sweet dark berries. That blueberry flavor turns into a dark chocolate covered cherry.

Feel: full body Rich and creamy.

Overall: Fair Warning this beer is really sweet. It's probably best too split a bottle between three people. But in saying that this is one of the most decadent complex tasting beers I've ever had. If there was a little more roast or coffee to balance out the sweetness this might be the best barrel aged Stout I've ever tasted. A world class beer for sure. Great work founders!

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Photo of Dzu
4.7/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into snifter.
L: Near black color with a weak foam head.
S: Cake, vanilla, blueberry.
T: Blueberry, bourbon, sweets.
F: Tight body and medium carbonated.
O: One of the best imperial stout that I've tasted.

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Photo of Ottoj55
1.33/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

The beer looks good when poured, dark black with a tan head that quickly faded, but wait, whats this, it smells like blueberry pancake syrup. It tastes like blueberry syrup and a bit of chocolate, no sign of the roasty flavors stout should carry, sweet and syrupy instead. Not a hint of the barrels, no bourbon, no oak. And then the mouth feel, cloying, sticky, the aftertaste of blueberry syrup, a sweet coating on my tongue like I'd licked a sugar cube. This beer shows no signs of restraint, or planning, its a just keep through things at approach, blueberries, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon barrels. To call it garbage is an insult to garbage.

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Photo of sjones5045
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

11/26/16 home

Very hard to rate. The look, smell and feel are all well put together and its a well crafted beer but just not a big fan. It's fairly sweet with not much bourbon to counter it. It's a good dessert beer but I would not go look for more of these.

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Photo of jpbrooklyn
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Into a tulip glass: thick two+ fingers of caramel foam. Immediate scent of blueberry and vanilla, coffee-dusted chocolate at the back. The nose alone is a treat. First big sip is blueberry, vanilla dominates second, chocolate appears at the swallow. Have to say right here quite a few people are saying this is too sweet; I disagree. In fact, the tartness in the blueberry cuts the sweet, and in conjunction with the malty coffee-choco stout, first gulp/impressions say this is near-perfectly constructed.

Getting into this pour, I'm almost afraid I'm drinking this too fast. Alcohol is for me extremely well hidden, dangerously so. Low carbonation adds to the smooth mouthfeel. As it's warming up, the vanilla is almost gently blanketing the blueberry; the chocolate is coming through more. I'm very impressed!

I was wary of spending $17.99 for each of my two bottles; reading some initial quick reviews were scaring me (the sweetness factor). As my first glass gets ready for a refill, the only thing I'm scared about now is wondering if I'm going to be able to score a couple more bottles. This is spectacular IMO right now and I think some age on this could make this a 5. (When I pause to write, I can taste in my cheeks the gentle tingle of those blueberries and vanilla. Love it!) Grand slam for me!

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As fabled as any mysterious power could be, the illusive taste of blueberry, vanilla, chocolate and roasted barley is a combination that we all knew was out there, but feared what it might become. Founders brewers accepts that challenge and aligns these flavors on an imperial stout that's even more intimidating on the tongue as it is in name.

Lizard of Koz is an inky black, viscous as tar, onyx imperial stout with a creamy khaki froth. Its scent strikes first with the chocolate and char that floats the rim but quickly followed by the tangy scent of berries. With vanilla, molasses and cream pulling the fruit and roast together, its complexity and challenge starts early.

Lavishly sweet and sultry on the tongue, the beer starts rich with roasted malt, caramel, cream, toffee, brown sugar and molasses- all seemingly of the over cooked varieties as its low lying carbonation allows for full saturation of sweetness on the tongue. Strong blueberry flavor encoach on the malts, washing them away with the fruity, juicy and condensed flavors of cobbler and fresh squeezed puree. Bitter with roast but sour with berry skins, the entire map of the tongue is under attack. pepper, plum, prune and a hint of sweet tobacco rounds the finish as the ale's malty sweet grip on the tongue is slow to release.

Massively full on the finish, the beer's sweet upstart is just as malty as the beer finishes, rendering it a dessert beer for those with an unsatiable sweet tooth. With so much flavor going on, the spicy, sweet, boozy, sour, roasty and cakey beer seems to have multiple personalities and identities. Pulled together with age and patience, this is a beer that's just getting going. It's a beer that's ahead of its time as it's a great candidate for the cellar. Trialing into a long, fruity, sweet aftertaste, the beer's currently resides on the cloying side of the flavor fence.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

the story makes this one cooler than it is, but its also really cool, so thats irrelevant. blueberry is a cool element here, but a little bit it comes across as sweet and plastic, cough syrup or some throat medicine is a theme across the whole thing for me, although i really like it, in a purple drank sizzurp sense, not that i am a regular on promethazine or anything, but if i was, i would imagine it having a similarly intoxicating effect, like sugar high and sludgy drunk and all messed up all at once. i wanted this to be more unique, i think the adjuncts are there, but in a way that makes it less distinctive than it could be, blueberry jam or preserves rather than blueberries, and some whiskey and vanilla, but not wood or char, like its missing some dimensions and the balance is off. like i could honestly be critical of such a good beer, but i wanted more fresh blueberry here, and i wanted more vanilla with it. huge stout as a base, well done of course, and sweet and strong, but this somehow seems less original to me than it sounds like it should be on the label. not much else like it, but also somehow familiar. great but not life changing. this should age real well...

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Photo of MikeWard
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a goblet. No freshness dating that I could find. I think there was a bottle release last year, so maybe this is a year or so old.

Black body, oatmeal pancake colored head which persisted in some form leaving good lacing.

Good lightly roasted malt aroma, also some bourbon, and the blueberries come through quite nicely. No chocolate or vanilla on the nose though.

Ah, but the chocolate is the first thing to come through on tasting, followed by a pretty strong blueberry wash which hangs around. The boozyness is buried, but you do get that warm feeling in the back of the throat. No vanilla, which to this palate is fine given the strong berry taste. Enjoying this one.

Mouth close to full, finish a warm fruity slightly sweet berry flavor.

Overall, If you are not a big fan of blueberries in your beer, you should probably avoid this. I enjoyed the hour spent supping this beer. nice one Founders.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into an El Catador Barrel-Aged glass.

A: Very dark brown, opaque, with a half-finger of mocha-colored head that fades quickly. Fairly low visible carbonation, but about average for style.

S: Chocolate, cacao nibs, and sweet vanilla. Roasted malts and coffee. A light bourbon aroma. Minimal if any oak tannins on the nose. There’s a generic sweetness that I guess might be berries, but I get more vanilla aroma than anything. Sweet for sure, but a decent aroma.

T: Vanilla, chocolate, and sweet blueberry pie filling. A modest but present bourbon as well. Sweet and roasted dark malts, with mild accompanying bitterness from the roast. More sticky sweet vanilla, but it never quite strays into Yankee Candle territory. More sweet blueberries, that have no fruity tartness - it really does come across like pie filling. The vanilla and berries last into the hang with more sweetness.

M: Sticky and full-bodied for sure. Low carbonation sensation, but acceptable for style. Alcohol flavors are surprisingly restrained.

O: This was pretty good, but quite sweet. In a 2 or 3 oz pour, this would be excellent. But even splitting the bottle two ways, it’s a bit of a struggle to finish. While the flavors stay fairly natural, rather than candied or artificial, the sweetness does get a little cloying after half of my pour. There just isn’t anything in the way of barrel tannins or hops, and the roasted bitterness just isn't enough to come close to balancing the sweet flavors. Nor is there enough bourbon to give some respite from the sweetness. In small doses, it’s quite tasty. In larger doses it gets a little old.

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Photo of LuckFreeZone
3.51/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

This was . . . interesting. This was a tricky one to rate as the whole seemed less than the sum of the parts. The taste and texture was very much a blueberry syrup plus alcohol taste and blueberry syrup plus alcohol is very reminiscent of cough syrup. Two great(-ish) tastes that do not go great together. I forgot I was drinking a beer.

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Photo of mjwellman
1.9/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This is one of the worst beers I've ever had and I love porters and stouts

L: dark and rich with a nice head
S: Good sweet aroma
T: OMG I want to throw up. The blue berry is overwhelming. Completely ruins this beer. It be fine if we were talking maple syrup to go over my pancakes but this is God awful
F: I want to throw up
O: What a fucking disappointment. Founders I now know that I can trust a beer just because it has your name on it. I bought a bomber and drank 8oz the rest went down the drain. Though I have some concern about polluting our water supply with such a tragic beer. If you enjoy imperial stouts DO NOT BUY THIS BEER

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Photo of ScaryEd
1.94/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

Pours a near pitch black color with a finger of bubbly tan head. Leaves a fair amount of lacing as it dissipates. Has a faint tinge of red hue that makes this a treat to look at under the light.

The aroma brings notes of chocolate syrup and candied blueberries. Has a faint hint of roastiness and char. Very medicinal.

The flavor is unfortunately not as forgiving as the nose. Some chocolate, maybe a hint of vanilla. Then comes the medicinal, Robitussin flavor. It's sickly sweet, cloying, and nearly undrinkable.

The mouth is full bodied, with nearly non-existent carbonation. Syrupy, sticky, and full of alcohol. Not dissimilar to cough syrup. Actually, it's pretty much exactly cough syrup.

Overall, I wasn't sure what I was expecting. Fortunately, I didn't purchase the bottle myself as it was shared with me by a friend. It's overly sweet and artificial, and the alcohol plays far too significant a role. It's sticky, medicinal, and legitimately reminds me of cough syrup. Thank God I didn't pay $20 for this.

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Photo of Punchdrunklove
3.21/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Founders, what are you doing!? I had a chance to sample some at a tasting and it was difficult to put down 3 ounces worth. Tastes like some kind of weird fake medicinal blueberry mixture. Unfortunately I bought two bottles prior to the tasting. Luckily I was able to return the beer at Binny's. Yes, I actually returned the beer. KBS is average at best now, Backwoods Bastard is barely worth buying anymore and now this.

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Lizard Of Koz from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 909 ratings