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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,640 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,640
Reviews: 1,430
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 105
Gots: 200 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Baltic Porter |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-04-2005

ABV varies.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,640 | Reviews: 1,430 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChanChan
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter consumed on Nov 2, 2011. Poured from bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A few shades darker than most porters, the head is khaki in color. The lacing is very nice.

Aroma: A good amount of burnt malt, hops, and a ton of chocolate as well as an alcohol presence.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body.

Tatse: Chocolate, burnt malt, hop bitterness, a good amount of booze, and a nice coffee finish.

Overall: This beer is special to me; it was the cause of my obsession with craft beer. Although I’ve had many great beers since the first time I had this beer it is still very delicious!

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

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Interesting. I have had the Wild Dog barrel-aged version of this beer on tap, and it's quite a different monster I must say. I also liked that one much better than this one, though this one is not without its charm.

I shared this beer with the wife, pouring it into a pint glass. Blackish-brown color with a well-retaining tan head. Aroma of dark roasted malts, coffee, and strangely, quite a pronounced hop profile. Taste was not what I expected. The wife took the first sip and recoiled a bit, claiming it seemed more like a Cascadian dark ale (aka black IPA, as she put it, but it's a term I hate to use). In a bit of disbelief, I took a sip, bearing the aroma in mind. Definitely a piney hop kick right off the bat, with notes of rum raisin, but mid-to-end-palate, the hoppiness mellowed, leaving space for the cocoa-coffee duet to enter. Finished dry and roasty, and not that bad at all. Medium body. Not quite what I expected, but still good.

Photo of Rizalini
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got a chance to pop this one open. I've been holding onto it for 3 months, just never got around to it until now. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours black with a very foamy 1 1/2 finger light tan head. It's leaving a nice lacing as it slowly fades.

S - Smells rich and slight smokey pete. Very malty as well.

T/M - This one is a malt bomb. Thick and rich, with some dark chocolate notes, and a hint of espresso. Then a dry kinda bitterness that clings to the sides of your tongue. Very faint alcohol flavor. Semi thick mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.

O - The label claims this beer to be as complex as the man it's celebrating. This is very true! Drinking like a great stout, Gonzo is amazing, and get's better as it sits. I'd definately seek this one out again!

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very nice dark brown with a great dark tan, light brown bubbly head, which leaves good lacing.
The smell announces coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt.
The taste is remarkable and starts with a nice mellow chocolate flavor, being combined immediately with distinct expresso. In the middle the roasted malts bitter the beer into balance and the finish has a slight burned cigar flavor to it. Very nicely balanced and smooth. A great Porter

Photo of challenja
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of MNJR
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with beautiful mocha/espresso/tan head. Nose reveals caramel, coffee, fruitcake, and some sour, astringent notes lurking around somewhere. Flavor has a sour-ish dimension, too. Mostly I get slightly burnt coffee, caramelized fruit, pine resins, and cocoa. All in all good, but did not meet my expectations, mostly due to the lingering burnt/sour flavors on the aftertaste. Alcohol is warming, but not overdone. Mouthfeel smooth but unremarkable. This is one I'd like to try on draft before I give my final verdict. But, not sure if I can find it that way.

Photo of ThaCreep
3.62/5  rDev -10%
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.

Photo of jman892
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours black, with some very dark red highlights around the edges. Sticky mocha colored head

S - Hints of coffee and chocolate, malty and some oakish vanilla.

T - Roasted malts, hops are there adding some bitterness, end result is a bitter chocolate taste

M - Low carbonation, slick mouthfeel, almost oatmeal stoutish. The bitter taste lingers

O - Not a bad beer at all, would like to try this with a little more age on it to see if it siftens up a bit

Photo of celticfutblclub
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a hill farmstead glass.

A - rich dark brown to black body with a dark brown head thats about two fingers thick with great lacing good retention.

S - notes of coffee and chocolate here (coffee a bit more pronounced than chocolate). hint of alcohol to come in the nose.

T - taste goes the opposite way of the nose. coffee is there but chocolate is far more present. dark fruit sits in the back. nice little hop feel towards the end that adds a nice element.

M - high carbonation. full bodied. big booze on the back half with a great dry finish. started to notice a graininess to it as it warmed.

O - damn fine baltic porter. nose could be a bit more in your face but overall a quality brew.

Photo of IPA4LIFE
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 355 ml bottle with a best by date of 22/04/12

A- Pours dark brown, just shy of black with a thin, tan head. Very think and weak head with little retention. The beer seems a bit too "watery" for a porter of this strength.

S- Like you would expect, this guy has a strong nose. Some typical chocolate, with a little caramel and brown sugar, and roasted smokey oak flavors. This beer is 9.2%, so there is a slight hint of alcohol, but not as strong as a lot of beers at this strength.

T-The predominant flavor is chocolate, with roasted oak and vanilla in the mix as well. Also some hints of coffee. Overall, the taste is good and there is a pleasant warm, sweet coffee aftertaste, but it doesn't blow my hair back the way some other beers in the style have before.

M- This is it's weakest point I think. Overall, I think that the beer is too watery and not full-bodied enough to match the favor, smell, and alcohol content. But that is a minor complaint.

The beer is solid. Not the best porter you could ask for, but far from the worst. I think it is a good representation of the style, and i admire what Flying Dog did with this beer.

Photo of andrenaline
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours pitch black with a finger of mocha head, solid retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Musty cocoa and espresso, sweet cherries and a hint of vanilla.

T - Dark chocolate and espresso malts dominate, touch of leafy greens and a hint of peaty vanilla. The ABV heat is well hidden and does not give off much sweetness.

M - Nice carbonation level, though could be interpreted as a tad syropy, however I found it perfectly suitable for the style.

O - This stuff was fantastic. Strong bold flavours, but still easily drinkable. This is a bold beer that you can have several of without being overwhelmed. Glad I had a chance to try it.

Photo of loweball727
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Super dark, opaque black with a light tan head. Beautiful lacing with every sip

S - Malty aroma with a slight hint of alcohol, somewhat to be expected with this high ABV.

T - Dark smooth roasted/malty taste providing a lingering delicious malty smokey aftertaste between sips

M - Def. a full bodied porter. Only slight hints of alcohol on the tongue, very impressive for being a 9.2%

O - Loved this beer on the first tasting back when HST passed. Pick it up everytime i see it. Easily my favorite Flying Dog and one of my favorite porters.

Photo of tjkinate
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First offering from Flying Dog.

Poured this pitch black brew into a standard pint glass that created a 1 fingered, brown khaki head. The head had decent retention and the beer exhibited good amount of lacing.

Smelled of mild chocoate that is backed with floral hops and nice undertones of vanilla.

Taste was dominated by the hops which created a bitter chocolate flavor. I found it very good at first, but as the sips continued I felt the hop profile was just too high to be among the best.

Surprisingly dry, but not unpleasant.

Overall an enjoyable experience, won't deny this beer in the future and would like to experience it on tap.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - straight up pitch black with a thumb of mocha head with solid retention, random bits of lacing down the glass
S - strong coffee and burnt aromas, some mild vanilla and chocolate
T - roasty and smoky malt dominate the nose, then fresh coffee, hint of citrus hops, and a building dark chocolate flavour brings it to the finish line
M - rich and smooth with a good amount of bitterness creating a balanced feel
O - a big beer with big intentions that it delivers on, very drinkable with the high ABV not even close to noticeable, so glad I got a chance to try this

Photo of enfield249
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark black, with slight red highlights under bright light. The head is tan in color.

S - Plum, rasin, slight roastiness, malty sweetness.

T - Again, lots of dark fruit flavors, with not overly sweet, and only a little roast, mostly on the back end.

M - Full, with a goodly ammount of CO2.

O - A really epic porter.

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at basement temp in flared glass

A: solid black; more head than beer! decent carbonation and good lacing
S: carmelized, light aroma; a bit of raisin
T: boozy, heavily roasted grains; it's very strong and confident, but monodimensional--very little spicing and the hops are not prominent

This is an intense, flavorful beer, but not the best of the imperial porter family; given my choice I go with Sam Adams imperial stout

Photo of dogfishandi
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-2008 Vintage-

Review On: 1-19-2010
7oz. bottle. pours pitch black motor oil, big mocha colored head, great retention, some creamy lace.

dark chocolate, roasted malts, some hoppiness comes through as well. more so a RIS.

chocolate, roasted malts, nice hoppy bitterness.

creamy mouthfeel, fair carbonation. definately more of a ris than a baltic porter, but a great beer non the less. kind of a nice intro to ris.
4, 3.5, 4, 3.5, 3.5

Review On: 9-27-2011
7oz. bottle, same vintage. cellar temp into a snifter.

pours out pretty much opaque black, nice creamy tan head, very retentive, nice lace.

mostly aromas of alcohol and dark fruit. some roast melds in there. slight oxidation noticable.

flavors of dark fruit, roast, chocolate melded together. almost a little nutty with a slight earthy hoppiness still lingering around, decent bitterness. warming finish. again slight oxidation.

mouthfeel is overall weak, way too thin for the strength, seems watery when put up against most impy stouts which is more or less what this is. also a little too carbonated for the style. not really worth aging, but i love these bottles for homebrewing. would not buy again.
4, 3.5, 3.5, 3.5, 3.5

Photo of nandemo1
4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured an almost pitch black with a half finger of tan head. Minimal lacing.

Smell is of dark fruits, raisin, sweetness, a little bit of coffee. Taste is much more coffee dominant with toasted malts. Only slightly sweet up front. Some alcohol is present, warming as I make it through the glass.

Fairly full bodied.

An excellent drink, very well balanced and flavorful.

Photo of patreely12
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

A - completely black, no light gets through at all. about 1 1/2 inches of mocha colored head which dissolves to almost nothing. leaves some spotty web like lacing. some visible carbonation even through the blackness.

S - strong roasted malts coffee. sweetness of dark fruit, cherries and brown sugar.

T/M - again strong roasted malts and coffee pretty much from start to finish. not a lot of hop presence but just enough to give it some bitterness and dryness on the back end. fruit, brown sugar and some caramel add some sweetness. definitely a warming sensation from the alcohol. leaves mouth coated and dry. medium carbonation.

Overall a decent porter, definitely enjoyable but nothing special. good for the colder weather.

Photo of theotherone87
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a four pack from the beer store in southhampton pa

A- A nice thick dark white head, that poured about 2 inches thick in a pint glass, the beer is dark as nite, very inviting

s- strong smells of some toffee and coffee, and some fruits, and some mix of spices

t- the taste is very good many flavors come into the play, at first a coffee taste, then backing off into some maltiness with a touch of spices and some fruits

m-a great beer to relax with a cold night, and also a great sipping beer

o- dogfish head does not disappoint, this is a well quality put together porter... many porter come up short but i think this one is a strong ahead of the pack

Photo of blackcompg
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a mixed 6pak a few days ago, got a couple of these, lets try this - I noticed sediment in the bottle, I incorporated this back into the beer prior to opening and let it rest -

Appearance - Wow! Poured 2-3 fingers of dark brown mocha head. This beer is a deep murky mahogany black - no lite passes thru.

Smell - Smells of molasses, dark fruits, some black cherries, and almond/amaretto...this smells really nice.

Taste - Ooooh, raisins, dark cherries, a little brown sugar and burnt toffee, I get some slight citrus, like blood orange. Longer into the finish I get toasted almonds and a little bittering from the hops (85 IBU's). There is some slight alcohol warmth after the sip, with little pieces of dried cherries, raisins and touches of molasses in the corners of the mouth. Balanced, complex, really a nice porter.

Mouthfeel - Carb is on the low side, giving this a silky smooth feel, more slick than creamy, very drinkable, and so much flavor that sipping it is wonderful, although I restrain myself from taking larger sips, this is so good.

Overall - I really enjoyed this imperial porter, really like the dark complex flavors, will definitely enjoy this one throughout the fall n winter months, highly recommend.

Photo of stjaernstoft
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter, ABV: 9.2%.
355 ml bottle, 29.70 SEK at Systembolaget.

A: The liquid is dark brown, near black, the head has a lovely brown colour and the retention is nice and good.

S: Strong aromas of dark chocolate, toffee, coffee and nuts are mixed with zesty notes of grassy hops, herbs and spices, dark dried fruits, mandarins and banana peels.

T: Rich, complex and roasted, malty flavours of chocolate, butterscotch, brown bread, coffee and nuts, with bitter and zesty, hoppy flavours of dried fruits, banana peels and spices. The bitterness is large and the alcohol is present - but not intimidating.

M: A warm and creamy feel - and a big body.

O: An Imperial Porter with roasted, malty, nutty chocolate and coffee - with a certain edge of zesty hops and spices. Sturdy, tasty and pleasing, but if anything it lacks some balance.

Photo of ivanwatling
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really good porter, fullmof warmth and rich tastes

App: Black as night, with a brown creamy head.

Smell: Rich, fruity, hints at complexity and warmth

Taste: Imbudes with warmth from the first sip. Bitter, suprisingly so, but with a deep malt taste beneath.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, just right for a porter. Lingering aftertaste of hops, coating pallete with some sweetness as well

Photo of output01x
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. capped bottle (Vintage 2011) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a 2-finger tan head atop a dark chocolate colored body that shows no traces of other colors even when held to light. After a number of minutes, the head recedes to a thick, uneven coating. Lacing seems to cover every available space of glass.

Sweet, dark roasted malts have a lot to offer the nose. Bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit notes are rolled into an overlying smokey/roasted aroma. A slight boozy alcohol aroma is also noticeable.

Dark chocolate and dark fruits start each sip with notes of black cherry and currants. Caramel, toffee, and dry coffee flavors round out the taste. A decent alcohol warmth takes refuge in the back of the throat to help finish each sip.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation, this beer seems a bit heavy for a porter but is just about right for an "imperial porter". The body is thick and coating and only slightly syrupy. The carbonation is not overly noticeable but is certainly doing a lot of work in the background.

Photo of keysofebony
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm having this beer a little warmer than I would prefer, but I still have 3 more in the 4 pack. I would say have this beer in the fridge for 20 mins (~45-50 degrees F.)

A- It looks nothing short of an Imperial Porter; Black and very tiny tan bubbles on the head. Thinned head stays for a while. Moving on.

S- Smells like coffee, boozy dark fruit, and a little cocoa.

T- Ok, so i'm going on a whim here because i'm drinking it warm. This beer is o.k warm but would be great slightly chilled. It has a thick coffee, chocolaty taste with a good amount of boozy-ness to it.

M- feels like a man's beer

Overall- If you find this beer, try it out. If I didn't already know and love Flying Dog beers, I would probably buy it because I am a fan of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman. (I think it's AWESOME he does their artwork) I personally love any kind of Imperial beer (stout, pumpkin, porter, etc...) If it's done right, it gives the brewery a chance to shine and Flying Dog has won it with this beer. Not my favorite (Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout is still first) but a very close 2nd. Perfect on a cold day...will definitely buy again.

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,640 ratings.