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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

2,483 Ratings
THE BROS
84
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,483
Reviews: 1,408
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 87
Gots: 157 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gonzo Imperial Porter Alström Bros
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Ratings: 2,483 | Reviews: 1,408 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Black with a minimal attractive head and lace. Coffee syrup, medium mouthfeel and not all that thick.Chocolate and other malts, cascade and other hops.The one-off best flying dog of them all, courtesy of Jan Biergeman.Surprising high alcohol, did not feel like 9.8%.Unobtrusive carbonation.

Sammy, May 22, 2006
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

t0rin0, Sep 27, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

On nitro tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, slight coffee, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a cookie dough flavor on the finish. There is a medium roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the nitro treatment isn't helping out very much.

UCLABrewN84, Nov 22, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

djrn2, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a very dark brown with a nice tan head. The small is of roasted malt with a little bit of coffee. The taste is quite malty, with a nice robust feel and slight dryness. Coffee undertones exist throughout, and there is a little bit of bittersweet chocolate. Quite drinkable, and increases in complexity as it warms up.

Thorpe429, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

zestar, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

acurtis, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of metter98
4.03/5  rDev 0%

A: The beer poured jet black in color with a mocha colored head; a thin layer of bubbles consistently covered the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles near the edges of the glass.
S: There is a moderate aroma of dark roasted malts and chocolate in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and has flavors of dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate and burnt coffee beans. There is a mild amount of bitterness from the hops.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate. The beer is very smooth and a bit thin; there are some warming sensations from the alcohol.
D: This is an excellent beer to sip and savor--I will definitely try another one of these again. It's rather drinkable and the bitterness is not overpowering.

metter98, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev 0%

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown color with a tan head that persists for quite a while and leaves plenty of lacing

Smell: The nose is citrus/piney with undertones of dark fruit and cocoa

Taste: Starts out a bit sweet, with rum soaked dark fruit; then the bitter hops kick in and provide a strong challenge; chocolate and coffee appear after the swallow; the finish is roasted and bitter with a good bit of alcohol

Mouthfeel: Thick and luscious; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Nice for a nightcap; lots of flavor, but the opposite of Lay's (you can only drink one)

brentk56, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.8/5  rDev -30.5%

"No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master."

--Hunter S. Thompson


Vintage '05. Thanks in advance to bditty187 for the last beer that I'll drink in 2005. Lightless obsidian topped by a cascading head of dark golden sandstone. This is the darkest porter that I ever remember pouring and is darker than many stouts. The cap has the consistency of waterlogged sponge, deflates slowly and looks great while doing so. It's also no slacker in the lace department since a moderately thick, periodically pocked sheet covers most of the glassy surface area.

The nose struck me as potentially very good when I first cracked the crown. However, now that I'm focusing on it for real, it's merely above average. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something seems slightly askew. It isn't as mega-malty as I expected (or as it looks). Heavily roasted, espresso-tinged black malt is present, but is far from aggressive. It's met with equal, if not greater force by a green, fresh pine needle-like, sticky hop cone essence that gives me a clue what to expect on the palate.

The flavor is odd and unexpected. The malt side of the equation is reminiscent of saccharine sweetened diet chocolate bars soaked in dark Karo syrup, sour molasses and stale coffee grounds. The pine sappy hoppiness fails to blend in, and, as a result, the flavor profile has a disjointed, muddled quality. It's hard to figure out exactly what's going on. As I continue to sip, it's becoming increasingly obvious that the answer is: not much.

One reason my taste buds are having a hard time getting traction is that the flavor is so flat. By that I mean that it lacks that three dimensional quality that all good beer has, that allows one to delve into its various nooks and crannies and discover all sorts of interesting flavors, layers of flavor and flavor combinations. This one is broad and boldly flavored, but it's also stunningly shallow.

Part of the reason for the above is a curious lack of carbonation. It's curious because there was a normal release of gas on bottle opening and tremendous head formation on the pour. In the actual drinking, though, the near total lack of leavening hurts both the flavor and the mouthfeel. The mouthfeel is full and slighty slick, but feels too inert to be pleasurable.

Hunter S. Thompson defined gonzo as 'with total committment, total concentration and a mad sort of panache'. After hearing the buzz about Gonzo Imperial Porter, I thought Flying Dog had done those words justice by brewing a beer that is a fitting tribute to the larger than life character who wrote them. I was wrong.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 31, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.95/5  rDev -26.8%

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a pitch-black color porter with a medium foamy head with average retention. Aroma of roasted malt with some coffee and some vegetable kind of leave me puzzled. Taste is also a weird mix between roasted malt and a weird vegetable finish which doesn’t really fit in there and I am still unsure where it came from (hops?). Body is too light for the style but alcohol is well hidden. I’m not sure why this is rated so highly as I didn’t see anything memorable in here.

Phyl21ca, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%

Looks good for a porter. Perhaps a bit thicker and richer looker, more like a sweet stout. A stubborn tan head laces well and shows some legs. Low carbonation.

Smells like fresh cut grass, and fresh cut pine cones, and fresh cut roasted malt. Picking up major hoppiness found in IPA's and classic porter chocolates and toastedness. A mellow sourness lurks in the background. My guess it's from the lager yeast and roasted barley.

Tastes like the fresh cut stuff in the aroma. Sweetness is quickly swamped by the hops and roasted grain. Creamy and thick through the body. Finishes warming and a bit dry.

Aftertaste: Hops, coffee, a bit of liqorice. Lingers for quite some time. Remains alcoholic, but never completely drys out; stays sweet.

Impression: Hops overwhelm many of the porter characteristics (no supprise from Flying Dog Brewery) I appreciate the taste, it's new and vibrant to the palate--makes you think. Never thought I'd say this--it's a great summertime porter.

BEERchitect, Jun 20, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev 0%

A - Poured a thick, black, with some light penetrating on the sides and bottom. One of the biggest tan colored heads I have ever scene. Actually had to wait a couple mins to pour the rest. Really nice spider web like lace was to follow. Good looker so far.

S - Very very strong smell was apparent from the start. Big aroma of coffee and caramel with a definate alcohol flavor to it. A slight sweetness could be detected as it warmed along with a very subtle hoppy presence. Maybe a but of chocolate at the end, very nice.

M & T - This was nice, feel was very rich and creamy, and very warming. Lots of carbonation made everything pop just right, and this went down like dessert. Some smoked flavors were readily apparent, but definatly not overwhelming. Very full flavored, sweet profile and a nice dry, long lingering smokey finish. Very full robust porter to say the least.

D - Overall I have to give this one its due. It was a perfect nightcap to the evening and very worthy of being a sipper. I had been wanting to try this one for a while and it did not dissapoint.

mikesgroove, Apr 04, 2007
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Texasfan549, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -0.7%

kjkinsey, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%

A: A 12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer is pretty much black and has a very fluffy tan colored foam that stays around forever.

S: The aroma is somewhat disappointing. Coffee, roasted malt, some mild chocolate.

T: The primary flavors in this one are the same as the nose: coffee and roasted malt. There is also a bitterness on the finish that could be due to the malts or the hops.

M: The body is medium and the carbonation is moderate as well.

D: Despite the fact that this beer is nearly 10% alcohol, the booze is quite well hidden until it really warms up.

This is a good beer, just not great. I'm glad I picked one up to try, but nothing terribly special.

womencantsail, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

ygtbsm94, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Pours a dark brown/black with a this tan head; appealing.

Light coffee and "sharp" carmel nose. Nose has an elegance to it with undertones of chocolate.

Nice medium creamy mouthfeel with pleasant flavors of sweet coffee, carmel and toffee.
Flavors and character a bit more like stout than porter.

Nice big finish of sweet coffee that goes to grapefruit/resin hops. Wonderful character in the middle and appears to be an excellent candidate for foods with big flavors. A very drinkable, consumer friendly porter (stout?)

GRG1313, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

jaydoc, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%

12 oz. single - $2.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia. Listed as "Vintage 09".

Appearance: Pours a black body topped with a frothed, tan-colored head.

Smell: Cutting aroma of charred black malts, dark chocolate, fragrant colophony, and even chiffonade mint leaves.

Taste: Bittersweet, fudge-like chocolaty malts coupled with sharply roasty black maltiness and its taste of fire-scorched coffee grinds. Strongly sweet, though this is tempered somewhat by the bitter qualities of the roasted malts blended with the bitterness of the earthy, resinous, pine-tinged hops. As with the nose, there's a touch of spicy mint. Drying, bitterish finish with a final lingering taste of creosote.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Soft, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's certainly one of Flying Dog's better offerings. Paired well with the bittersweet, oft melancholy tones of the Kings of Convenience and Pedro the Lion. It makes me a bit wistful for the barrel-aged Gonzo.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev 0%

This is one really dark brew. This porter could easily be a stout just by looking at it. The color is pitch black with a creamy looking mocha colored head on top. The smell is rich and very roasted, with some chocolate on the nose also. The taste of the beer is heavly roasted with some dark chocolate bitterness in there too. The mouthfeel of the beer is heavy but silkty smooth in texture. Overall it's one of the better porters out there in my opinion. I would drink this one again.

Knapp85, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%

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?

oberon, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 25, 2013
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Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,483 ratings.