Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

2,612 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,612
Reviews: 1,426
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 100
Gots: 184 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV varies.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,612 | Reviews: 1,426 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BuddhaBrowett:
Photo of BuddhaBrowett
4/5  rDev -0.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown, fine coffee head, no carbonation visible through the inkiness. Constellations of lacing.

S: Dark chocolate, roasted almost burnt malt, a hint of alcohol.

T: Bitter, dark malts, chocolate nibs, some hop-provided pine residue on the finish, also contributing to the lasting bitterness. Dark, heavy, lasting, but not overpowering.

M: A little filmy, but pretty fluid. Only slight carbonation, enough to keep it from flatness.

O: Powerful dark flavors, significant hops (for a dark beer), yet easily drinkable. Really impressed, this is my go-to when I need a dark beer in the summer months.

Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the new big beers popping up around NC thanks to hoppedup for the sample.Poured a deep brown near black color with a mocha colored head.Impressive aromas of smoked malt and wood chips almost like more of a Scottish wee heavy,very nice well rounded flavors headed by the smoked peat and tree bark with a real noticable herbal minty element letting you know the hops are there.Goes down very smooth for how big and robust it is,why cant Flying Dog make more like this?

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ralph Steadman's bottle rockets and is a must have for any collector but will the beer inside prove to be more than just a gimcrack and worthy of the $9.50 a four-pack price? Let's see.

As it pours into a poboy's pint glass, my nose is instantly pounded by roasted, no burnt, chocolate malts. There's not much else going on so I let it warm a bit.

There it is: a hint of berries and some tobacco leaf. Still, the overwhelming portion of the aroma, upwards of 95%, is sweet, burnt chocolate malts.

The taste largely matches the nose only chocolatier but it is quickly overshadowed by the powerful mouthfeel.

This Gonzo rips your mouth wide open like an old Batman Comic fraught with: "POWS," "BLAMS," and "SLAPS."

It's so dry that it begins to resemble a Super Tuscan or some other big red in terms of mouthfeel. I'm not sure whether I love it or hate it but I'm sure impressed by it.

Very drinkable, dangerously drinkable even, every sip leaves my mouth thirsty for more. I'm drinking this way too fast.

All in all this beer lives up to the hype and the price, although not by much. Personally, I would like a little more for my cheddar.

Note: I'm currently drinking a bottle purchased on 9-26-05.
I thought that this was a one-off in honor of HST's death so I horded a ton of the first release. Today is 3-6-08. This beer is better than I remembered it. Lots of smoke, plenty of fruit, still well balanced, carbonated, with a great body. Overall, lots more smoke than I remember... Very nice. Oddly...this beer wasn't cellared. It has been in my fridge for over two and a half years...

Photo of ricke
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours with a basically black color and quite a big head. Head retention and lacings are quite impressive considering the relatively high ABV in this one.

S: A round and nicely composed smell. Lots of malts with a prominent chocolate character. Notes of dark fruit and vanilla. A pleasant hop kick. The alcohol becomes noticeable as the beer warms up.

T: Lots of malty sweetness with just as much sweet dark chocolate. Big notes of vanilla. Some notes of dark fruits. Very restrained when in comes to roasted malts, which is the main thing setting this one apart from the imperial stouts. Quite a lot of spicy hops. The finish is quite bitter with gentle notes of soy sauce, wood and more somewhat spicy hops. As in the smell, the alcohol becomes more noticeable as the beer warms up. In general, it seems like the flavors get slightly rounder towards the end and the different components seem to get a better fit after a while.

M: Full-bodied, nice smooth mouthfeel and an almost semi-dry finish, but it still manages to leave a sticky feeling in the mouth after a while.

D: I like this beer, I just think it's tasty. However, I've had the opportunity to try the older version a few times, the one with a higher ABV, and it was way better. The older version where more potent, more living and daring, and it had much more character. It's a shame they turned it down a notch, doesn't seem to be in line with the Hunter S. Thompson way of life. Wonder what he would have thought about such rerouting of a bold departure.

Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of ricksrealm
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of JacobMutberg
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of blackwingedhorde
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of Firefox13
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of newk340
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: nearly black, thick pour, with a slight reddish hue, very thin head that quickly dissipates which leaves minimal lacing.

S: like the faint coffee smell, certainly not overwhelming with hints of chocolate and not sour like a porter.

T: pleasant coffee/chocolate initiation fading into a faint sour porter trademark taste on the back end. very interesting combination.

MF/D: sizzle of carbonation that quickly recedes. definitely drinks more like a stout than a porter.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a viscous deep black color with a nice bubbly tan head that lingers atop the brew and leaves strings of sticky lacing as it falls. Wow..hardly any light is getting through this brew. Aromas of dark, toasty roasted malt with some cinammon, cocoa and vanilla. An underlying citric, piney hoppiness is fresh and vibrant..giving this porter a unique nose...pretty heavy on the hops.

First sip brings dark, roasted maltiness featuring chunks of bakers chocolate along with some mild roasted coffee beans. Slight powdered cinammon midway through along with hints of dark fruits and vanilla bean. The brew follows through with a heavy dose of pine needle citric hop oils and finishes slightly chalky on the palate. Quite the enjoyable brew.

Mouthfeel is full with big creamy maltiness. Nice and chewy with a slight dry chalkiness. This brew is amazingly drinkable. I didn't know it was 9.5% until I checked the listing again...alcohol is very well hidden. Sort of reminds me of Alpha Klaus personally...which is definetly not a bad thing. A fitting tribute to the late Hunter S. Thompson (RIP) and probably the best Flying Dog brew I've tried. Thanks to dwvarner77 for bringing a few of these back to IL for me.

Photo of blitz134
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black. Initially had a 1 finger dark chocolate head, that reduced down a only a single bubble thick layer. Not much else, no lacing.

Fairly complex aroma. Semisweet chocolate with toffee and some coffee flavors. Dark fruits come through and present an overall sweet aroma. A bit of alcohol as well, but not overwhelming and certianly doesn't detract from the aroma.

Taste is roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Again sweet dark fruits add a subtleness to the flavor. Definately some alcohol notes come through. The alcohol presents itself with a bit of a burn and its flavor really lingers. Overall a good flavor but this hurts the drinkability aspect of this beer in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is medium or so. Nothing outstanding, but fits the style well. As mentioned above the alcohol flavors hurt the drinkability a bit. Still a tasty beer though.

Photo of sabitu
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Imaster
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%

Photo of nickadams2
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Pours a thick reddish brown with a thick khaki head that dissipates into a thin ring.Spotty lacing.

S_Caramel malt and hops.

T_Caramel,chocolate,coffee,roasted malt. Sweet wit a bitter hop finish. Very different from the on tap version.

M_Thick and chewy. Moderately carbonated.

D_Mouthful but very drinkable for such a high ABV. One of flying dogs best.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to a friend in Kentucky for mailing me this 12oz bottle, since there are none to be found in my area of Maryland.

The first thing I noticed about this thick, black beer is that it has the most beautiful, thick, creamy head on it. It dies down to a manageable height after a few moments. A lovely strong hop aroma greets you, and the taste! Oh my.

It seems there are about 5 different levels to this beer. There's the blast of hops, and the subtle roasty chocolate finish, and inbetween the two are all sorts of things going on that I cant even begin to identify.

The only reservation I have about imperial porters is their very noticeable alcohol scent & taste. But that's a personal opinion and not a reflection on any shortcomings of this beer.

The character illustration on the Gonza Imperial Porter bottle exclaims "Ok! Let's Party!!" And I agree. Pick of a 4-pack of this beer before they're gone.

Photo of JasonA
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an oil slick black. Solid finger of head, not much retnention, lacing present.

Roasted malt, rum raisin

Roasted malt finish, some sweet and bitter, maybe hops.

Sits bitter, sweet ABV

Drinks well for 9.2. The bitter aspect is refrehing for Porters. Much sweeter than most. Ill drink some, but only so much.

Photo of danthehopslamman
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of csmartin6
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Beaver13
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours an opaque black with a smallish fine dark brown head that goes to a thin film and leaves some lacing. Looks pretty thick as it pours out.

The aroma is piney hops, some chocolate, coffee and anise. Smells a little off (alcohol / medicinal?).

The flavor is anise and some slightly sweet chocolate malts initially with a nice bitter hop bite at the finish. The alcohol is very well hidden. The mouthfeel is lighter than I expected. It's still medium bodied and light on carbonation.

Overall, a very fine imperial porter. Plus it's for a good cause...a big memorial fist!

Photo of bahamut6565
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of FatheadBrew
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep brown with some small ruby highlights. Two fingers of tan head linger decently.

S: I get an earthy/grassy hop aroma along with a hint of alcohol and roast qualities.

T: Sweet taste upfront with a slight alcohol twang. Bitter and hoppy finish with a little roast barley character.

M: Full to medium full with a good level of carbonation.

D: Decent, I could have maybe two or three.

Overall, this was a good beer if you like stronger alcohol beers. The porter flavors get somewhat lost in the strength of it.

Photo of bishopdc0
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is very dark with a creamy tan head. The smell is hints of chocolate and coffee not to big with some almost root beer aromas. This starts smooth and malty and it takes 3-5 seconds before the roasted barley taste appears. This beer is meant to be drank slowly so it can warm up. It becomes more complex and more flavors appear as it warms up.

Photo of bigdipip
5/5  rDev +24.4%

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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,612 ratings.