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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 I_Love_Beer

4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time I've enjoyed this beer, Found it on tap at a local restaurant. Bartender offered a sample and it was good so I ordered a 22 oz. Draft

A: Very dark almost black color, 1 finger head which lasted nicely

S: Strong roatsed malts, coffee bean, the smell is overall nice

T: This is is hard to describe but it as a nice taste, definitely taste the coffee and espresso, as I read in another review it tastes almost as if you crunched down on a coffee bean. It's a nice strong malty beer and you can tatse the 9% ABV but its not overpowering.

M: Smooth mouthfeel with a bit of a alcohol burn after a swallow, Not to much but a nice overall mouthfeel.

O: I enjoy stronger beers, I've found porters to be my go to beers if I want a strong beer, I enjoyed a chili spaghetti dish with 2 of these and I enjoyed it very much. I needed a little time to linger afterwards being as its a bit of heavy hitter as far as the ABV goes so use caution, I highly recommend this one if you enjoy porter or stout beers. I will try to find this in a 6 pack and pick up 1 or 2 for the fridge at home. The restaurant charges way to much for this beer on draft.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2013 20:30:36 | More by I_Love_Beer
Photo of challenja


4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at X Change in DC.

A - Pours smoke coffin black with nice mocha head.

S - Expresso coffee and dark semi sweet chocolate, malt Oak and Vanilla.

T - Roasted dark malts, slick bitter sweet chocolate, around 85 percent cocoa, dark espresso bean bitterness, burnt oak barrel resin, cigar ash and vanilla bean

M - Low carbonation, slick and creamy cold mouthfeel, much on par with a Oatmeal stout in thickness and cocoa taste. The bitter burnt oak offering with a sweet wet paste mouthfeel.

O - A surprisingly damn good porter. Flying Dog has been iffy with it's selection but this one was nice, dark espresso deep cocoa slick burnt cigar offering.

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2011 23:34:06 | More by challenja
Photo of ThaCreep


3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Black color. Nose of bitter mocha, dark chocolate and rum. It also feels the maturation and the cellar. Entry into mouth soft enough that soon gives way to chocolate and coffee stale. Hops - despite the rate of IBU yet specifically identified - remains discreet and alcohol does the same.

This gives a set that holds water and can be classified as soon as porters, which is a good place for Flying Dog has the art to disperse flavors and levels of losing the thread.

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2011 21:38:43 | More by ThaCreep
Photo of camil1mj


4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kegged in April. Served cold from my kegerator.

A: Deep, dark brown. 2 finger cocoa colored head. Lots of lacing. Beautiful, simply beautiful.

S: Heavy chocolate malts.

T: Great example of the style. Lots of chocolate malt with some mild hop undertones.

M: Medium body and carbonation.

O: Great brew. Glad to be able to get this in legged form! Flying dog has a winner on it's hands.

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2011 19:16:54 | More by camil1mj
Photo of nickthetick


3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours an opaque black into an american shaker with a solid finger of dark khaki head that leaves nice lacing.

S: dark chocolate, sweet toffee malt, and a musty quality.

T: bitter coffee and grassy. Those are the two head liners but there is a good big of fig, dark candy sugar and licorice/ anise.

MF: good medium body with a great effervescence, smooth.

O: a good porter, made a little better for me cause' its local, even better considering the flavor profile.

Serving type: on-tap

08-11-2011 01:07:23 | More by nickthetick
Photo of Brenden


4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Daddy-Oh's yeasterday afternoon.

Gonzo is dark, very nearly if not black, with a tan head that isn't tall but is thick and sits the whole way. It manages to leave spots of thin lacing around.
The nose presents a bit of charcoal, burnt wood, and dark chocolate in a strong malts backbone with a lightly nutty element. Alcohol is barely evident.
The taste presents very much the same profile, throwing in an herbal twang and very mild citric bitterness with a touch of caramel sweetness from middle to end. Alcohol really doesn't make itself known and really hit me later, especially since I knew practically that it must have a high ABV but not really detecting much of it.
I haven't had this in the bottle, but the feel of it on draft is excellent. It's super smooth, not exceptionally thick but certainly thick nonetheless, with a rich, creamy full body. In fact, this beer feels like it's on nitro-tap, but it's not.
Trying this one on tap certainly piqued my interest in purchasing the bottled version.

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2011 16:54:39 | More by Brenden
Photo of Jdmpolk


4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark almost black. A hint of foam caps the top but then dissipates leaving slight cola grey lacing on the side.

S- Warming smell of alcohol. Plum and dried berry aroma, reminiscent of port

T- Coffee bitterness, along with a hint of toast. Berry, and molasses with hints of cinnamon and sweet potato.

M- Light for such a dark beer. Alcohol warmth is present but the persistent carbonation almost makes it refreshing.

O- A lot of good flavor with coffee and fruit notes, however, the body seemed a little weak in the face of the dominant coffee flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2011 01:16:50 | More by Jdmpolk
Photo of ggilman


3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered this tonight at The Jolly Drayman in Bethel, Maine. Served in a large Allagash chalice.

A - Solid dark brown/black body with a ruby edge. Small light creamy tan head, settles wafer thin.

S - Sweet roasted malt & coffee beans. No robust aroma.

T - Roasted coffee, amaretto, black cherry, hint of alcohol, cola, slight black licorice w. a bitter chocolate finish. Didn't get any hops.

M & D - Crisp carbonation w. a medium body. Smooth. ABV was a sleeper and snuck up on me.

Was a nice finish to the meal. At $7.50, I'd most likely order coffee next time.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2011 03:19:04 | More by ggilman
Photo of ryanonline


4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks dark black opaque with a giant tan foamy head and great lacing.

Smells deeply roasty with a heavy mid piney citrus hop scent. Cocoa sweetness all over.

Taste is the same with a much heavier emphasis on citrussy hop flavor.

This beer has a moderate body and light foaminess. A dry finish is accompanied by a semi watery mouthfeel.

This is a dangerously drinkable beer.

Nice offering from the folks at flying dog.

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2011 00:46:35 | More by ryanonline
Photo of mistakebythelake


3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 oz snifter at Dilly Deli.

Poured a dark black with great head in lacing that remained and stuck to side of glass. smelled of chocolate, coffee, toffee and slight bourbon. Great profile on taste of chocolate, sweet fruits, spice, oak and malts. Light mouthfeel and great drinkability as I was surprised that this beer that wasn't higher in abv, yet drank smooth.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2011 03:49:55 | More by mistakebythelake
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 CaptDavyJones

New York

4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this porter on-tap in a pint glass.
Looked absolutely pitch black with a thin head that dissipated fairly quickly.
Aroma up-front was predominantly hoppy, and I mean really hoppy, which is unusual for a porter. However, with time, slowly the hop aroma disappeared and the roasted/smoked malt, bitter cocoa/coffee aroma persisted.
The hop presence was nowhere close to the aroma in the taste. Roasted malts, burnt smoke, dried fruits (raisins) made up for the taste of this unique baltic porter.
The ABV slowly makes it presence felt, warms the inside with each progressing sip.
Medium to full bodied beer with a good mouthfeel.
This is definitely a sipper, don't see myself having more than one 12 oz bottle of this in a sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2011 18:33:01 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of BeerLover99


4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

S - hint of nuts, cocoa, coffee, hops in background.

T - nutty, roasted, chocolate, mild coffee, hint of toffee.

M - smooth, creamy, medium/heavy, the alcohol will sneak up on you.

D - Outstanding, this is a big SIPPER! Share a 4 pack with a friend, the price and the intensity won't be so much then; this is an outstanding Baltic Porter.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2010 19:45:25 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of djbreezy


4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at By the Bottle in Vancouver, WA.

appearance - dark as mud, tan head, prominent lacing

smell - big chocolate and roasted malts

taste - tastes like a stout but has some of the porter characteristics, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, the standard fodder here...not too bitter, very tasty

mouthfeel - medium body, smooth, good carbonation balance (medium)

drinkability - flavorful and delicious, great brew to sip, good complexity

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 22:09:35 | More by djbreezy
Photo of haddon


3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this on tap at Gambrinus in Owensoboro, KY.

Pours dark as night with a nice frothy mocha head that lingers with lacing all the way down the glass. Prob best part of beer.

Malty notes come through as sour notes that almost smell metallic. Faint espresso bean and dark chocolate but everything is overpowered by that off putting sourness.

OK, beer improves a bit on the taste. Dark chocolate and coffee bean with a nice bitter aftertaste. There is also a sweet twang that reminds me of artificial sweeteneer. Makes me wonder if that comes from the same place as the sour smell?

Medium body with a nice velvety body true to the style. Not a bad beer but not something I would run to in the future... In other words, average.

Drinkability suffers because of the imbalanced smells and flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

11-07-2010 02:53:46 | More by haddon
Photo of Ryan011235


3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass at Fats Billiards's on 8/28/10

Dark brown, near black color with one inch of light brown foam that is slow to leave. Spongy lace. Thin retention & webbed lace throughout.

I'm surprised how strong citric hops are in the aroma, drowning out most else. Some pine, too. Subtle roasted malt notes & a hint of cocoa.

Smells like a CDA & tastes similar, though it's still just a hoppy porter. Hops are toned down & malt flavors are ramped up making for good balance. Semi-sweet chocolate & notions of roasted coffee. Resiny pine & citrus round it out.

Carbonation is appropriately low; this is an incredibly smooth drinking, full bodied beer. Just a touch of sticky resin. No alcohol heat, but it is warming. Residual hops & a mild roast note linger. Gritty undercurrents.

Gonzo Porter far surpassed my expectations. Sure, it takes liberties with styles but the structure of the beer is impressive. Recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

09-12-2010 01:46:25 | More by Ryan011235
Photo of Buschyfor3


3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz draft at Pazzo's Lexington

A: Deep mahogany; opaque; chocolate milk colored head; half a finger deep; sheeted lacing

S: Kind of hard to pick up the aroma because I'm enjoying this in a pub; however, I get some notes of bready malts, a touch of molasses, smoky, salty before mellower roasted notes take over

T: Roasted coffee, some smoky notes; a berry flavor; touches of cocoa; some alcohol burn; lingering smoke and toasted, nutty flavors on the finish

M: Pretty smooth, almost creamy; carb is medium, adds nice texture; nice balance

D: Not bad drinkability for an imperial; alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming until in the last few sips of the glass

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2010 02:01:40 | More by Buschyfor3
Photo of jagoffyinzer


3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a light tan two finger head that slowly fades to the edge of the glass. Lacing almost coats it all the way around. Not a lot to smell here very faint chocolate notes. Almost reminds me of the smell wafting from a carboy as you take a gravity sample. The taste is pretty different than any porter I've had, a lot more roast character to it. Slight chocolate and dark fruit tones. Very smooth and easy going but not much more going on. Pretty easy to down with a slight alcohol sensation, it's worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

07-28-2010 02:04:27 | More by jagoffyinzer
Photo of Haybeerman


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep black color. Poured almost a 2 finger chocolate head with excellent retention. Lacing mostly washed down the glass.

S: Very complex; nuts, coffee, black bread and all manners of toasted malts. Also raisins and figs. Alcohol.

T: Surprisingly big bitter in the nose. Dark fruits followed by toasted malts; bitter chocolate, burnt coffee. Warming alcohol finishes like bourbon.

M: Light body. Low carbonation. Thin and dry.

D: Dfinitely nurse this one and enjoy the rich, complex flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2010 02:27:21 | More by Haybeerman


3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft pour into a pint glass. I had the Gonzo a while back from the bottle, so this should be an interesting comparison, if not a test of the memory. (I prefer the bottled version by the way, which seemed to have more intensity and character across the board.)

A: Four finger head easy, light brown and foamy, good retention. The body is completely opaque and really, REALLY dark brown. Ruby edges are only visible when the glass is held in front of a light source. This score would have been a 4.5 if I was more impressed with the lacing.

S: Big vanilla aroma on the nose. Milk chocolate, mocha, wood, dark fruits (maybe cherry) also pull through. The aroma is fairly impressive until the beer warms and then for some reason loses its depth and becomes much less potent.

T: The taste follows the nose for the most part, adding a slight smokiness, a flavor of reduced soy saw and a noticeable, semi off-putting metallic edge. Good flavor but a little weak on the back end. The flavor duration is short and finishes moderately bitter.

M: Well proportioned mouthfeel with a nice balance between being creamy and being well carbonated. Thin and sticky when I want thick and sticky. Should have a fuller body.

D: Sure this beer is available and, yes, it's well priced, but there is really nothing of significant value to the contents of the bottle. Still above average drinkability, but there are many other beers out there that will be enjoyed before this one.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2010 13:59:44 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a deep, appetizing sable with a decent fine-bubbled light tan head. Aroma is rich and smoky, mainly of roast coffee with a strong tone of unsweetened chocolate. Rich flavor is like a fine mocha, quality roast coffee and chocolate. Texture is smooth and edgy - gonzo indeed. I have had this in a bottle, and it is definitely better on-tap.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2010 03:07:53 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of Durge


4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found on tap at Sweet Basil's restaurant in Greensboro, NC, this presents a deep dark black-brown color with a decent creamy brown head and fair lacing. The aroma is a firm licorice malt with sharp raisin-wine and herbal-juniper noted. The flavor is big bold licorice/juniper hop and toffee malt. I definitely pick up coffee bitterness, it's very tart but complex with a slightly resinous full bodied feel. A hint of milk chocolate, lots of goodies, and very little evidence of the high ABV. More of a sipper than sessionable but overall it's wonderful.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2009 03:03:04 | More by Durge
Photo of jamiesessions

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black that seems to stop light at the gates and say "none shall pass". A tan head that sticks and leaves a lacing all throughout the glass. The coffee and chocolate mix very well with a slight citrus, providing a very interesting smell for a porter, but one that is very good. Tastes like a good porter should. Chocolate malts are very present, but that citrus is still slightly prevalent as well, and despite the high ABV it feels very smooth and full bodied. This is a great porter, but it could easily sneak up on you, what my grandfather would call a "sippin' drink", but one that I could happily sip all day long

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2009 19:55:50 | More by jamiesessions
Photo of beertunes


3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in straight pint glass. Poured black, not slightly translucent like most of the style, with well over an inch of dark brown head that had good retention and very good lacing.

The expected aromas are all there, mostly roast scents, but in a very subdued form. The flavors delivered what the aromas failed to. Big, rich, full toasted malt flavors coat the tongue and the roasty goodness lingers at the back for a few pleasant moments.

The body is very good, full and thick, without being overly heavy. Drinkability is very good, especially during these windy and rainy days of a Northwest winter. Use caution, however, because the 9+% can sneak up on you.

Overall, a pretty good beer worth your time.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2009 22:16:19 | More by beertunes
Photo of mwa423


4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Catskeller, loved that they have kept the great beer coming! Best bar in the 45219 zip code! (Ironic, because it's the only bar in that zip code)

A - Poured jet black, same color as an imperial stout, with a finger of dark tan head which has a mean lacing all the way down the glass

S - Rich and sweet malt flavor that fills the nose both caramel and darker coffee smells.

T - Mouth filling flavor that is a hair shy of a stout, but lots of coffee aftertaste once you swallow, after the coffee the bitterness hits. Not a sharp bitterness but the earthy type that sits on the tongue.

M/D - Rich and thick mouthfeel that goes down in the same creamy way that melted milkshakes. The carbonation is definitely present but light on the tongue. While this is certainly a slow drinker it is very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2009 22:21:05 | More by mwa423
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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,323 ratings.