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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2323
Reviews: 1399
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%

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: 2,323 | Reviews: 1,399 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Mitchster


1.73/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

$2.70 for a 12oz bottle @ Jacks. Brewed with G.W. 120L Crystal, Chocolate, Black patent malts. Hopped with Warrior, Northern Brewer, Cascade. 9.2% ABV per the website, but this bottle says 7.8%. 85 IBU's, OG=22 p.

Pours out to a clear deep black, forming a good sized very dark brown head with poor retention and good lacing. Moderately carbonated. No sediment in bottle. The aroma is a mix of dark fruits like raisins, prunes, burnt marshmallow, black molasses, dark bitter chocolate, and copious green piney hops. The mouthfeel is harsh with a dense body. The taste....hrmmm....peculiar. It opens with a funky soapy, almost fish-like taste then is replaced by the dark fruits for just a flash before being replaced by burnt marshmallows, charcoal, and ash. Big wave of fusels in the middle. Heavily burnt, then followed by very aggressive green grass in the finish.

Eeeech. Man, I did not like this beer one bit...I'll go so far as to say it's probably the worst beer I've had in the last year. Fish, charcoal, obnoxious fusels, grass, soap....ugh. A total disaster of a beer. I'm gonna have to pour this one down the drain. Not recommended at all.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2010 02:15:28 | More by Mitchster
Photo of charlzm


1.83/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

consumed at 3rd Stop Los Angeles, 03/13/08.

Good looking dark brown pour with a thin, fast-disappearing brown head.

Aroma is way off, with lacquer notes competing with glue or plastic. Some dark roasted maltiness did peek through, however.

Flavor is much like the aroma: weird and unpleasing solvent flavor is the dominant note, drowning out the dark roasted malts and the accompanying bitterness. Some coffee and/or mocha flavor in there, too, but I'll never be totally sure. I sent this pint back as it was undrinkable.

The mouthfeel was a little creamy, at least...

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2008 02:23:03 | More by charlzm
Photo of Jesse13713


1.95/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - A fairly black porter with slight hints of purple. A slight purple hue to it. No lacing capabilities whatsoever.

Smell - Strong hints of coffee. A slighty toasted malt smell with oats in the background. Smells more like a stout than a porter.

Taste - Tastes like a very toned down stout as opposed to a porter. Watery with a quiet coffee zing. This was VERY disappointing. Very watered down.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - A very silky smooth taste. Goes down easy. Sort of an unpleasant taste, however. I'm glad I got this on tap rather than buying it bottled. I was very, very disappointed with this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2011 02:53:51 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of kstoltz


2.08/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass, little to no head, a nice dark brown with a noticeable coffee aroma. Taste was decent to start, tended to be fairly watery in terms of feel, not too heavy on the coffee, but about mid-way through the alcohol kicked in, and not in a pleasant way. This was more of an Everclear taste that got in the way of the positives. This could've been a bad batch, but I was very put off by this.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2011 14:03:57 | More by kstoltz
Photo of ADR


2.1/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thick black pour out of the bottle, generates a nice creamy brown head that leaves attractive dense lacing. Aroma of prunes and nutmeg, odd hops that remind me distinctly of milkweed of all things. The mouthfeel is thinner than an Imperial Stout and many ordinary Porters -- with higher than average carbonation. What a weird flavor, the aroma impression is all over the tastebuds, bitter weeds and stale coffee grounds, I assume from an over hopping gone wrong (for me, at least). Not very coating in body either. Chalky, astringent and overly sharp at the swallow. Plenty of alcohol. Maybe an "Imperial" Porter (whatever the hell that means) in alcohol and rampant nasty bitterness, a mess of a Baltic or Robust Porter. Thin, overcarbonated, green, weedy -- maybe this might age OK, but as is, I am NOT a fan of this one. Cartoon of a beer, IMO, close to a disaster. If this beer didn't look good, it would be a total loser and its amazing how people "follow the leader" in praising this bilge -- in my opinion, of course, LOL.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2005 17:46:18 | More by ADR
Photo of GrizzleFist

New York

2.18/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.25

Bought a bottled 6-Pack from the local Beer store.

Appearance: Very black, very little carbonation. Slight foam on top, dissipated after a minute or so.

Smell: Popped open the cap, smell of something fruity the first two minutes and then it went away, with only the malt and hop smell remaining.

Taste: Overall a medium bitter taste with a very slight sweetness that hits the back of your tongue for just a moment. Once swallowed the bitter taste will last for a few seconds.

Mouthfeel: On the thick side, couldn't feel much carbonation on the tongue.

Overall: For a porter it is nothing special. The taste isn't horrible but its just so.. meh that I really don't care to even taste it again. I still have some left as I'm typing this review and heavily debating if I even want to drink the rest. I had high expectations after reading the bottle and Flying Dogs claiming they put their heart and soul into this beer. If this is all they have to offer, I'd suggest they just shut down their brewery right now.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2013 22:44:01 | More by GrizzleFist
Photo of pentathlete


2.25/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Purply dark chocolate color with a small tan head. Moderately carbonated. Smell is green oily hops, very raw pine odor. A bit too "cleanser" smelling. Taste is rough, raw piney hops again, not very enjoyable. Mouthfeel is ok, the finish is too long for the harsh tastes. I don't find this one very drinkable at all.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2006 02:00:10 | More by pentathlete
Photo of necoadam


2.28/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Interesting artwork. Poured out a dark black color with a tannish head. Looked good so far, but onto the smell. Smell was mostly boozy at first, with some hoppy tones. Where's the roasted malts or the coffee aromas? This seems to be headed down hill very quickly. Taste wasn't any better. Grainy and a load of hops start out and end the same way. How about having a ton of roasted malts and coffee beans with an underlying of piney hops? That would seem to make more sense. Finished a little oily as well. Mouthfeel was overcarbonated and finished with hardly no taste. Almost seltzer like aftertaste. This one was really off the mark. I understand thinking outside the box, but they were nowhere close to the box on this one. Sorry, but this is a dud.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2005 13:15:14 | More by necoadam
Photo of JWFokker

New York

2.38/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from a bottle into a beer stein, it's a solid, rather average looking beer, with about a half an inch of medium brown head. Lacing is nice, nothing out of the ordinary. It has an odd nose to it that's not necessarily pleasant and not representative of the flavor of the beer, which was disappointing. I'm not tasting coffee like some drinkers are. In fact, it doesn't have that much flavor on the palate, but a lot of hoppy flavor on the aftertaste which I don't like. It's a smooth beer, the mouthfeel is pretty good though nothing out of the ordinary for a reasonable quality beer. It looks and feels like it should be a good beer, but the lack of flavor and sour aftertaste are not what I'm looking for in a beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2006 05:29:45 | More by JWFokker
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

2.4/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

The label art sets too high a plateau for the beer, but you might as well open up the bottle before it gets too warm.

Greasy tar; very fluid for the style. A tiny brown head develops about 20 seconds after the pour is done. Black as asphalt, & just as noxious. Penetrating coffee grounds & pungent hops, a bit of a cigar stench; fumy alcohol. My head hurts.

Invigorating carbonation, & a thin body. Hops are in everything. This is a dirty IPA with too much missing, too much of what you don't want. Burnt compost, & stale jerky; just lovely. :(

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2007 03:27:46 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of danreitz

New York

2.4/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from a bottle at my friend's place during a session that also involved The Kraken rum. It pours deep, beautiful opaque nearly-black brown. Hoppy, faint aroma that does not give away what is in store for your tongue. Taste is all over the place: aggressive and bitter, with several flavors competing for your attention including burnt iron, cleaning supplies, dirt and liquorice. The predominant flavor is alcohol. Finishes with a bitter, lingering alcoholic aftertaste.

A very memorable beer. Aggressive to a fault. This beer lets you know you're drinking it the entire time you're drinking it and haunts your dreams once you pass out. I notice most of the reviews talk about this like it's an easy drinking beer. This was not an easy drinking beer. This was a nightmare. Did I get a bad bottle?

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2012 19:54:00 | More by danreitz
Photo of CaptJackHarkness

New York

2.48/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I was hoping to like this, anything with a cowboy skull on the label and a Thompson Hunter quote should be good, right?
The main problem with this beer is the bitter lingering aftertaste! The color is nicely dark, the aroma not overpowering; but as usual: it all comes down to taste!

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 01:16:14 | More by CaptJackHarkness
Photo of klewis


2.55/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle - "Vintage 06A"

A: Pours dark brown with a big tan head that erupted late into the pour. Lots of thick lacing and a head retention.

S: Nice chocolately aromas, but a strong alcoholic/kerosene smell prevents me from wanting to smell this stuff too much.

T: Earthy and tannic with flavors of black coffee, oak, and alcohol. The flavor departs quickly, leaving a harsh astringent taste in the mouth.

M: Fairly light-bodied for a beer of its ABV. There is barely any carbonation in this beer, giving it a flat texture.

D: I was really looking foward to this one, but after a few sips am not impressed. Its biggest issue seems to be that the alcohol is not balanced with the other ingredients. Perhaps worth a try, but I won't be drinking this one again.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2006 19:38:19 | More by klewis
Photo of buschbeer


2.58/5  rDev -36%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle

A - Served in pint glass. I'm gonna call this one black with a three inch cocoa head.

S - Grapefruit. Faint hints of roasted malt.

T - Grapefruit again. I'm really trying to get some roasted malt, and it's hard to find.

M - The mouthfeel is great. Thick and viscous.

D - I actually went back and read some other reviews after I started to see if I was crazy. A couple others seem to have found this beer hoppy as well. I'm not sure what's going on here but it doesn't taste or smell like a porter, way too hoppy. The alcohol is very well hidden though.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 00:06:18 | More by buschbeer
Photo of prototypic


2.63/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: One finger creamy, chocolate head. Beer is dark brown. Very thick looking. I'm impressed with the look.

Smell: First off, I can immediately pick up the licorice smell, which I am not a fan of at all. Coffee beans and mild chocolate smells are present. I'm also picking up a hint of a dark fruit smell, perhaps plums (?).

Taste: Again, the licorice taste is the first thing I notice. I have a strong disliking for that, so it pretty much killed this one for me. There's a bit of a coffee taste in there as well. But, the licorice is what hit first and it stuck around.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: For a 9+% ABV beer, you really can't tell. The alcohol does not overwhelm like I thought it might. It goes down easy enough. But, this is a tough beer for me. Overall, I really do not care for it and do not think I'd recommend it. Perhaps it's just a style preference.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2007 04:40:36 | More by prototypic
Photo of AboutBeverages


2.63/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Strong herbal hop aroma, with slight underlying malty sweetness. This beer has a thin body, and is slightly sweet and smoky, with no hop notes. Overall very plain and just not a good balance of flavors that usually can be found in this style of beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2010 03:19:30 | More by AboutBeverages
Photo of Bighuge


2.68/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Black beer. Fluffy brown head. Decent size to it. Lace is quite nice. Wet cardboard, black malts, chocolate, oxidation. There's some good and some bad on with this aroma. On the buds, I first notice some oily hop tones...then a little alcohol...then some porter qualities. Not necessarily in the order I'd like to see them here either. There's also some of that wet cardboard/oxidation thing going on that detracts from the flavor. Mouthfeel is medicinal and bitter. Body about medium. Subpar for an Imperial Porter if you ask me. A wasted $3. For the Single.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2005 01:34:41 | More by Bighuge
Photo of JBStith

North Carolina

2.68/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial (Baltic) Porter was not very impressive.

A: Pours jets black with an overwhelming head...a suds bomb. I had a difficult time getting a 12 oz bottle in a 16 oz glass. Thick, tan head with great retention.

S: A definite metallic smell. I detect a bit of sweet malt, but I can't get past the smell of pennies (yes, the currency).

T: Same a smell. An overwhleming metallic taste. No need to go any deeper, though all the requisite porter flavors are there. Finished with heavy fusel alcohol.

M&D: Heavy and thick. Not very drinkable due to flavor and heaviness. I might give this a try again if I find it on tap, but I won't be buying it again in bottle, especially not for the price. Just not a good porter of any genre.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2006 22:56:20 | More by JBStith
Photo of sweetbrew82


2.68/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. into a pint glass/ no freshness date

P: Jet black with a chocolatey brown head that was thick and creamy with some froth on top initially, but showed poor retention as it disappeared quickly to a thin collar on top. Not much lacing, either. I was expecting much better out of this one, to say the least.

A: Roasted malts, cocoa powder, herbal hops, vanilla, and dark fruits are all in the mix here, but there is a little bit of a strange plastic smell, too. It's not nearly as powerful or bold as even some regular porters I've come across. You kind of have to dig for the aromas in here.

T: The dark, roasted malts remind me of barley and lots of crystal as they deposit some cocoa powder notes on the tongue. But right away I am overwhelmed by a really weird artificial sweetener type of flavor that reminds me of those nasty-ass chocolate flavored energy bars that my wife used to buy. In other words, it tastes powdery and fake with that same plastic-type of flavor as well. There is a little coffee to be found while the vanilla and dark fruits (figs, dates) come to the front. Hops impart a little bitterness to try and offset the sweetness, but to no avail. Sweets win out by a long shot. Booze is well-hidden, but definitely there.

M: Full-bodied with a rich, glassy smooth yet almost oily feel that saturates the tongue and aides in leaving a weird aftertaste (from that plastic?) for quite awhile.

Notes: I am not very impressed by this beer for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, that artificially sweetened taste combines with the plastic and proves to be way too much for me to handle, even with only a 12 oz. bottle. Second, there is not much complexity or power to be found here. Flavors are quite subtle and it lacks the depth and complexity that an Imperial Porter should have. The mouthfeel ends up being too heavy and cloying from all of the sweets, and it leaves a really weird diet soda-like aftertaste. Not sure if I got a bad bottle or what, but this wasn't anything close to what I was expecting out of an Imperial Porter.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2009 11:36:30 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of TheGarvenator


2.68/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - A dark stout like color and pours thick with a lasting head.

S - smells malty with a small sweet scent...smells like most of Flying Dog's beers...

T - very thick and extremely malty

M - strong and bitter

D - extremely bitter and filling....i would probably only be able to drink a couple before feeling full.

Im not a porter guy and this was my first one so I can really say it does porters justice...Its very bitter and reminds me of a stout being so dark and filling. I might buy this particular one again but only time will tell or if I find a better tasting porter.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 00:38:27 | More by TheGarvenator
Photo of Cresant


2.7/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured this 12 oz. brown bottle into a Samuel Smith tulip glass. "Vintage 06F" was printed on the bottle. The body was a very dark brown/purple. Rather large chunks of sediment slowly dropped. The tan head was minimal but it left freckles of lace.

Smell was spicy cinnamon. Light breadiness and rubbing alcohol, later.

Taste was Syrupy chocolate malts. Band-aids. Hops flavors rise through the sweetness. Woodiness, like chewing on a popsicle stick. Multi-layered and rather complex but not phenomenal tasting. There is a weird combination of flavors here.

Mouthfeel was medium to thin. The beer leaves a sweet coating on the lips.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2007 01:00:34 | More by Cresant
Photo of woodychandler


2.7/5  rDev -33%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 1.5

Again, no mistake - I was drinking three different cask-conditioned ales as part of Lititz's General Sutter Inn's monthly Cask Night. This was the third of the three. How fitting for my 900th Beer Review in this site! For Dr. H. S. Thompson, this review's for you!

This was presented with a solid finger of dense deep-tan head with excellent retention. Color was a deep, dark, inky brownish-black with zero light penetration. This might have leaked out of the Exxon Valdez. Nose was redolent with dark chocolate and dark-roasted coffee. Mouthfeel was full, thick, silky smooth with a burnt wood taste on the tongue. Hmm. Dr. Thompson was cremated to ashes and intermingled into fireworks, but I begin to fade when it it this intense in its smokiness. Man, I just cannot get behind this beer. Too smoky and too charcoal driven for my taste. If they could just dial the roasting back a bit ...

Serving type: cask

11-25-2009 23:41:52 | More by woodychandler
Photo of becktone


2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Normally I really like porters, but this porter is not really my style. It looks amazing as it sits in my glass. This porter is pitch black, however it has close to no head. It almost looks like molassas as it comes out of the bottle but is not nearly as viscous as molasses.

This beer has a very unique smell and taste. I can't really describe what this smells like, but I'll tell you that my first thoughts were milk (a sweet smelling milk), and chocolate. I don't know if this means anything but those were the first thoughts that entered my brain. The beer has a very unique taste unlike anything I have ever tasted before.This beer is not bitter and I really can't taste the hops in this beer. All I can really say is this beer is really sweet. I wasn't a fan of the taste, it tastes too much like sugar or candy. When at first this entered my mouth I tasted slight bitterness but it was then followed by an overwhelming sweet flavor. Really not my style, but if you like that sort of thing this beer might be for you.

Feels about average in the mouth, not much to say about that. In my case it would probably go down easier if it wasn't so sweet tasting. I don't think that I'll be buying this beer again, I am just not into the candy like taste it leaves in my mouth.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2005 22:19:58 | More by becktone
Photo of granger10


2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep brown color with a huge rocky tan head. Lots of lacing around the glass. Aroma strikes me right away of hops and alcohol. Almost burning and somewhat vegetal. After the initially nasty sensation of ethanol and cooked veggies I get a nice milk chocolate and light fruity aroma. Taste again seems too harsh for my liking. A bit of roasted bittersweet chocolates and some raisins are there for the malts but they are completely dominated by the brash and annoying hops. Pine sol flavors, aspirin like. A soy sauce elements comes into play. Alcohol is brash and unsettling. Finish lingers with a burning alcohol sensation. This could develop into a treat but its nowhere near enjoyable right now.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2006 13:42:05 | More by granger10
Photo of Prufrock


2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner.

pitch brown with half an inch of tan head that leaves sheets of lacing.

coffee, raisins, chocolate, grass. slightly medicinal and a touch of alcohol aroma.

chocolate and coffee in the taste as well. a touch of hoppy bitterness in the finish. alcohol is apparent; carbonation is light. finish is slightly medicinal like the aroma, and slightly off-putting. not very drinkable; well, at least i didn't want another.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 01:10:27 | More by Prufrock
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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,323 ratings.