Lizard Of Koz | Founders Brewing Company

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Lizard Of KozLizard Of Koz
Very Good
872 Ratings
Lizard Of KozLizard Of Koz

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / 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.

Added by Bung on 04-18-2015

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 872 |  Reviews: 273
Photo of kylehay2004
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jaydoc
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of acurtis
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Texasfan549
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
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...

 1,188 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured at the Black Party at Founders April 16, 2016. While Founders make some amazing dark beers, this is one of the highlights of several Black Parties for me. This is a tar black, viscous stout that smells like rich sweet chocolate with hints of anise, vanilla and black cherries. It is a perfect chocolate dessert in a glass with light carbonation, thick and rich mouthfeel and the flavor profile of amazingly rich, deep and luscious chocolate. I'm actually not a chocolate person and this is one of the best liquids I've ever put in my mouth.

 551 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of djrn2
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of metter98
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is close to being jet black in color—when held up to a bright light there are some dark red hues near the edges of the glass. It poured with a finger high dark tan head that left lots of large bubbles covering about three quarters of the surface.
S: Light aromas of bourbon are present in the nose.
T: The beer starts out with initial flavors of chocolate and blueberries with some notes of associated sweetness. There are notes of bourbon and vanilla beans in the finish. The bourbon flavors become a little stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The barrel aging lends a bit of warming to the finish.
O: This makes for a good dessert beer as it starts out sweet with flavors of blueberries and chocolate. It's quite drinkable considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden and it isn't that heavy on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

 1,884 characters

Photo of oline73
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of kojevergas
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
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

 4,978 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of superspak
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in 11/2016. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger dense and fluffy tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big lightly tart blueberries, milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, fudge, vanilla, toasted coconut, bourbon, oak, and dark bread; with light notes of molasses, licorice, raisin, and roast/oak/toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic complexity and balance of blueberries, vanilla/chocolate, bourbon barrels, and dark/roast/bready malt flavors; with great strength. Taste of huge lightly tart blueberries, milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, fudge, vanilla, toasted coconut, bourbon, oak, and dark bread; with light notes of molasses, licorice, raisin, and roast/oak/toasted earthiness. Light roast bitterness, bourbon/oak spice, and fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of blueberries, milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, toffee, fudge, vanilla, toasted coconut, bourbon, oak, and roast/oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of blueberries, vanilla/chocolate, bourbon barrels, and dark/roast/bready malt flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Slight dryness from roast bitterness and fruit tartness as well. Medium carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky; and slightly slick, syrupy, chalky, acidic balanced mouthfeel that is awesome. Minimal warming alcohol for 10.5%; with zero barrel booziness. Overall this is an amazing fruited imperial dessert stout! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of blueberries, vanilla/chocolate, bourbon barrels, and dark/roast/bready malt flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the big ABV. Very rich and complex, with a near perfect balance of all flavors. Very sweet, but not cloying at all for me. A highly amazing offering.

 2,049 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours fudge brown with a frothy beige head; leggy and streaky, the foam strands dribble down from the lip of the chalice

Smell: Powdered chocolate and blueberry tones

Taste: The blueberry is rather jammy, from the outset, and dominates with sweet tones at the outset and some tartness through the middle and finish; the chocolate is subtle, but hangs around from start to finish; ultimately, the sweetness lingers

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: I feel sorry for Liz but I'm not quite sure why

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Photo of Boone757
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dbrauneis
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque thick viscous jet black in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and very faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a two finger tall foamy dark mocha head that slowly reduces to a medium to large sized patch of medium thick film surrounded by a large patch of thin film covering the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of milk chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon with light to moderate aromas of toasted oak barrels + blueberries. Light aromas of roasted malts.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of roasted malts which is quickly followed by moderate to strong flavors of moderately sweet milk chocolate and blueberries. That is followed by light to moderate flavors of vanilla, bourbon, and toasted oak. Moderate aromas of lingering blueberry vanilla sweetness.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light hints of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: Due to the sweetness, this is definitely a nice dessert beer and quite enjoyable with reasonably well hidden alcohol. Fairly easy to drink but I had to sip it slowly due to the sweetness.

 1,262 characters

Photo of mothman
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tart blueberries. More of a dessert beer than anything. Bourbon and all the stout flavors are masked by the blueberries. It's not undrinkable, but it's not amazing.

 164 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of chinchill
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the Pour Taproom in Greenville, SC.

Appearance: the body is near black with dark brown edges; A tan head with good retention leaves some lacing.

Aroma: lots of chocolate with subtle blueberry.

Flavor: this is a complex and flavorful ale. Medium-light sweetness with plenty of vanilla, moderate bourbon, chocolate and blueberry, and more subtle wood.

Feel: full body is a bit thin but smooth with appropriate, medium carbonation.

Overall: excellent ... if you love vanilla stouts and don't mind the sweetness.

 527 characters

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Lizard Of Koz from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 872 ratings