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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.

2,491 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,491
Reviews: 1,410
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 86
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
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Ratings: 2,491 | Reviews: 1,410 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 9InchNails
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On the bottle it reads: 7.8 ABV 85 IBU. Underneath the Bar code it reads: Vintage '09 followed by two J's.

On the pour a massive brown head erupts. Now there seems to be an island formed. The body is black but at the very bottom there is some ruby red.

The smell is like a IPA having wild sex with a stout. Smells strong but good. Mostly bitter hops and sweet roasted malt.

Chocalate, coffee, toffee, nut, dark fruits and just a hint of booze. It's really tasty though.

Body is on the medium side but really smooth and creamy. Feels nice.

I wish I had a sixer of this, not that I can drink all of it tonight but to savor over time. Decently high ABV but not really all that noticeable. Really smooth and creamy, this would make a good dessert beer.

9InchNails, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of chilly460
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, with a solid tan head. Head sticks around nicely, all the way to the bottom of the glass.

S - Good aroma of roasted coffee, and I pick up a metallic smell. Some caramel as well as an alcohol smell.

T - Nice caramel malts up front. Pick up a leather or tobacco like flavor as well. Moves to a heavy roasted malts taste next. I thought the roastiness goes more over the top to a astringent bitterness that was more then expected for the style. Earthy hops finish the beer.

M - This had a nice chewy mouthfeel, plenty slick, very nice.

D - Pretty good for a "big" Porter, just a little over the top on the roas bitterness. Alcohol provides nice warmth.

chilly460, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of NathanBeerFoo
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

all around very good porter. not a lot of head or carbonation. i like taking my time with it for it gets better and better with every sip. went awesome with the fish tacos i made. drinkability is awesome for the ABV. by far my favorite flying dog brew, and one of my favorite imperial porters.

NathanBeerFoo, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of JayS2629
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pitch black with small tan head that leaves nice creamy rings of lace.

S- Bitter coaco, deep chocolate and coffee tones, dark fruits like raisins and prunes, earthy notes of hops in the back.

T- Hoppier than expected for a porter. Nice chocolate up front, dark fruit, raisins in the middle and a bitter coffee in the finish. Earthy, floral hops stay on the breath.

M- Medium body, creamy but hop bite in finish leaves mouth dry.

D- This is a sipper and the hops is a little odd in the style. Overall pretty good.

JayS2629, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of CaptDavyJones
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.

CaptDavyJones, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of AgentMunky
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a BrewDog Cervoise glass. Best by 14 October 2011.

A: Pitch-black with a ruddy brown glint. Big frothing head settles into a creamy finger-tall fixture.

S: Mmmm, so good. Chocolate, caramel, bourbon, brown sugar, coffee bean. Thick and entrancing. Utterly delicious.

T: A little disappointing. Smooth enough, with a big roasted malt sweetness. Maybe too smooth -- very little carbonation is detectable. Very little bitterness or coffee presence; mostly chocolate malts and sugary darkness. The aftertaste is smooth, sticky, and sweet, but good. Overall quite nice, but less wonderful than the smell had led me to believe.

M: Too smooth/sticky; could benefit from carbonation. Still, pleasant enough.

D: Quite drinkable, and a very good porter. The letdown, as it were, stems only from the exceptionally pleasant nose. Recommended for lovers of dark beer, though be warned -- this porter is far more sweet than bitter.

AgentMunky, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of alleykatking
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a black color with some brown toward the edges when held to the light. One finger tan head shows medium retention. Ringy lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- Nice smelling. Big roasted malts with hints of coffee and darker chocolate at the same time. Piney hops came in the ending aroma with a strong alcohol note at the very end.

T- Roasted malts right off the get go. This moves into a darker mild bakers chocolate. Middle of the beer has some lighter coffee hints with the ending getting back into the bitter chocolate mode. Ending is mostly piney hops with a dark roasted finish. Alcohol heavy finish at the very end.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Roasted malts and bitter chocolate is left on the palate. Aftertaste is heavy alcohol, roasted malts, and piney hop. Heavy drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors were very well blended for the style. No off flavors were present went drinking this beer.

D- This was a good beer. The ABV was high but only showed at the end of the beer. It is a nice drinking stout (imperial porter) but still had some weak feeling overall actually adding to its drinkability. Flying Dog make more beers like this please!

alleykatking, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of YouSkeete
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Jet black, brown on the edges of my snifter. Tan head with awful retention. Hardly any lacing whatsoever.

S: Big bittersweet dark chocolate aroma and heavy malts. Notes of bourbon, oak and some dark fruit permeates.

T: Bittersweet cocoa upfront. Smooth malty body. Not big on the coffee flavor, and not too strong with the chocolate on the palate. Notes of Bourbon and oak are definitely present throughout the brew. Sticky and dry aftertaste.

M: Milky and sticky. Medium carbonation with a medium body.

D: Great drink. On the bitter side, yet surprisingly refreshing.

YouSkeete, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of BB1313
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8oz mini-bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a nice black with a nice head and sticky lacing. Lots of chocolate aromas up front. The chocolate is all in the taste, along w/ roasty and burnt flavors in the background. I'm picking up some vanilla as well, with a very minimal amount of smoke. Slightly hoppy; bittersweet. Mouthfeel is light, creamy, smooth, very enjoyable. Drinkability is good, alcohol is well masked, easy drinking. Awesome beer! Has alot of stout characteristics.

Definitely one of the best offerings from Flying Dog. Highly recommended.

BB1313, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of JizackFH
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours black in color. It has a big fluffy tan head on it, which left good lacing on the glass as it fell.

S - It smells of roasted malts, coffee, and dark chocolate. There are also notes of caramel, hops, and some dark fruits.

T - There is a nice sweet caramel taste up front, which is immediately followed by a strong roasted bitterness. There are also notes of dark fruits, vanilla, and hops. Also, there is a pretty strong alcohol presence here as well.

M - It has a medium-full body and good carbonation. It has a silky smooth feel to it. There is also a long lasting roasted bitterness that lingers in the mouth. Also, there some alcohol warmth.

D - The drinkability of this is good. It has a smooth feel to it, and the flavor is very good. This is a great beer to have on a cold winter night. I would for sure try this beer again.

JizackFH, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of madvermin
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The ravens-steelers game is making me, as a browns fan, extremely sad and jealous, so I'm having this to console myself. Pours black with dark, dark brown visible around the edges. Minimal tan head generated, and it was gone just as fast as it had appeared.

Nose is not too strong, with a slight coffee/chocolate and malt to go with a faint booze smell.

Taste thankfully is much better, with very nice coffee and faint chocolate making this a nice porter, and the brief hop taste in the middle making it stand out. Bit of an alcohol warmth at the end, but nothing special. No flavors are too strong, making this beer kinda indecisive but good at the same time.

Carbonation is stronger than expected, and quite nice. Drinkability is good for the 7.8% abv.

madvermin, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of BBP
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Good head and retention. Nice lacing.

S- Hop bitterness. Bits of chocolate. Reminds me of the smell that Stone Vertical Epic 09 had.

T- Dark malts and tons of them. Very balanced between sweet and bitter. A lot of chocolate. Tons of cocoa. Ton's of hops for an imperial porter.

M- Smooth, medium-full, good carbonation, medium dry, and moderately sticky.

D- Good drinkability. Nice enough drink. Didn't blow me away.

BBP, Jan 14, 2011
Photo of Vierenner
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tastes like any other good porter. What's missing in my mind is a discriminator ... a uniqueness which seperates it from the rest. I like the near absence of bitterness. But the rest of this beer is ordinary, at least in my opinion. Perhaps I need to move out of this category of beers!

Vierenner, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of AhabFlanders
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark black with a huge tan/brown head which takes some time to settle, leaving some lacing on the glass. (Possibly got a bit aggressive with the pour).

S: Opens with a sharp herbal hop note which fades to roasted malts, bitter coffee and a hint of dark chocolate. A sharp alcohol aroma is more prominent in certain whiffs then others.

T: Again bitter hops but overshadowed by the roasted malts, bitter coffee, a little dark chocolate. Sweetens as it warms up a bit adding flavors of molasses and figs. Another bittering hop note and some alcohol at the end.

M: Thick and creamy. Almost seems to float on top of the tongue. Light carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Great flavors and goes down smooth, though that 9.2% starts to hit about halfway through. Overall a good beer for a winter evening.

AhabFlanders, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark, pretty much black, with a huge creamy light brown head. Leaves lacing all over the glass as it slowly dissipates.

Smells of roasted malts and coffee, not getting too much else.

The taste is extremely smooth and malty. I'm picking up on some dark cocoa, and coffee flavors. has a nice sweetness to it that is countered by a slight hop bite in the end. It's hard to believe the 85 IBUs, it's not as bitter as you'd think.

Definitely full bodied, with moderate carbonation. Really coats the mouth and has a thick feel to it. Really creamy.

For 9.2%, this beer drinks extremely smooth. Like velvety smooth. This beer is dangerously drinkable, it goes down like a session ale. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a nice malty brew for the winter.

wolfinthemirror, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of slackerlack
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Very dark, almost black, looks like used motor oil.
S - Smells roasty, chocolate, and coffee.
T - Tastes of chocolate and coffee mostly.
D - For this being 9.2% alcohol, you cannot tell when drinking it. No burn, not harsh, goes down smooth and creamy.

slackerlack, Jan 11, 2011
Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 07 on the bottle.

Pours a dark brown, almost black color, not much head or lacing and no cap on top, the ring of bubbles around the glass though is tan in color.

Smell is deeply rich in roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and I'm even picking up hints of coffee which is quite surprising considering the age of the bottle.

Taste is very similar to what I picked up in the nose, strong roasted malt backing with hints of chocolate and a bit of coffee in the aftertaste, it has soft but active carbonation that lends a creaminess, the strength is very well hidden and I can't pick up any heat at all.

I think this beer has held up very well, but I also don't think it will get any better since it is drinking so mellow and smooth right now.

deltatauhobbit, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Guinness goblet.

A: Pours a solid black with a two-inch brown head. Good retention, lots of sticky lacing.

S: Big whiff of citrusy hops, some pine, vague herbal smell. Token roasted malt underneath: coffee and chocolate. Maybe a touch of smoke. Hints of vanilla as it warms.

T: Herbal hops open. Very herbal actually. Maybe thyme and oregano. Citric hops are there too, but not to the degree that they were in the smell. Some grapefruit and maybe even a bit of orange if you search for it. Pine. Vanilla. As in the nose, roasted malt tastes kick-in after the initial hop blow. Milk chocolate, muted coffee, and big woody/smokey notes. Bitter dark chocolate, wood, and smoke in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, very lively seltzer-like carbonation. Too thin and overly carbonated for my taste. Mouthfeel is definitely the low-point of this beer.

D: Decent.

Notes: A good beer, though I do take issue with it being entered on this site as a Baltic Porter. A bit of a hop bomb. I sat on this bottle for about six months. It is better with age. The hops mellow out somewhat. There are some big, bold flavors in here, but in the end this beer just didn't impress me as much as some of its competitors. Good, but not elite.

ryan1788a5, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a black body with a massive brown head. The head sticks around for a while, a bit rocky in texture, and leaves behind a good amount of lace.

S: A pleasant aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate, dark fruits, and a hint of vanilla. The nose ends a bit boozy as well. For such a great smell, it's very light and takes a lot of effort to get all of the aromas.

T: Initial flavor of sweet caramel, dark chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee are on the palate followed by hints of dark fruits. Bittering hops, which are very good, break up the upfront flavors and ends a bit boozey.

M: A smooth and creamy texture with a full body and medium to light carbonation.

D: A great beer. Easy to drink and an interesting porter. I will definitely get this again.

BrewCrew2010, Jan 10, 2011
Photo of Bierman9
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 4-pack of this the other day at Jaspers's for $7.99. Gonna enjoy some while watching the NFL... Label says "vintage '09" , and the ABV is listed as 7.8%, not the 9.2% noted on BA.

Poured one into a small tulip. It foamed up quite a bit, about 2" worth of tan bubbles atop a very dark, dense brown liquid. The head ebbed a bit, allowing a bit more Gonzo to go into the glass, saving just a smidge with the yeasties in the bottle for later. The topping is a nice mocha color and is mousse-like in its consistency, leaving a nice curtain of lace on the glass. The aroma, not overly strong, is a combo of chocolatey malts and some roasty bitter notes. The body is in the medium range, and it is light on the tongue, with some bubbliness present.

I swirled in the yeasty residue and went to work... Lots of dark chocolate is present here, with some espresso-like aspects. It has a cocoa powder dryness, with heaps of roasty bitterness greeting the palate. Despite the labels claim of being"complex", I feel this one is fairly straightforward, with lots of choco bitterness. Not bad, but likely a one-time purchase for me.


look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | drink: 3.5


Bierman9, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra in a not-so-recent trade. Sorry for no shout-out, but thanks to whomever this was from!...Poured into my tulip glass.

Deep brown in color with garnet and ruby highlights around the edges when held up to light. Spotty lacing from a thin ring of foam that remains along the glass long after the creamy 1-finger cap of foam has dissipated.

A swirl before I analyze the aroma...Chocolate, caramel, coffee, and a light roastiness spring right out at me. Some figs, dates, and a splash of raisin contribute sweetness to the aroma. There is also a warm alcohol component. In the taste raisins, chocolate, and the other dark fruits are the biggest components. Some bitterness from both roasted barley and earthy hops. Finishes up with that warm alcohol flavor and vanilla. Unfortunately, nothing really leaves any impression on my palate after the finish.

Medium consistency with a light carbonation. Pretty much average for any robust porter, whether it be a baltic porter brewed with lager yeast or an imperial porter with ale yeast. Easy to drink, but the relatively high ABV, coupled with the relatively unimpressive palate makes me hesitate to seek this out again.

NittanyBeerFan, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
2.88/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- pitch black, thick dark tan head

S-very dark chocolate, almost like baking chocolate. there's a small bitterness as well, light strength

T-just a subtle hint of really dark roasted malts and really dark chocolate. there is a small alcohol burn and bitterness as well. there's no great after-taste. this is fairly complex yet forgettable (hopefully)

M-medium carbonation with a very dry, sharp finish

D-well...the ABV hits quicker than expected...too quick for even 9% beer. this is a very heavy, warm beer which is why i imagine the russian czars favored this style...but its just not drinkable in my opinion

AdamBear, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of mulder1010
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7 oz bottle poured into a tulip. Note: my bottle is 7.8%

A-- Poured a dark cola color, settled black with touches of red at the top of the glass. Short lived dark brown head that was no more than film. That quickly died off. Not much more for head retention when swirling the glass. No lacing either.

S-- Chocolate, prune, vanilla, Carmel, and dates. What I like most about this beer is the nose. Big smell but not too big.

T-- Milk chocolate, prune and dates. Longer it sits in the mouth the taste changes. That goes more to mouthfeel though.

M-- Prickly carbonation. Higher than I would have thought. Medium feel to this. Get a lot of milk chocolate covered grapefruit in this. Do get some floral aspects as well to this. Finished with chocolate, coffee and prune taste. Kind of like Dr. Pepper in a way. Has a bit of an acidic finish to this.

D-- Only reason I bought the sampler pack from Flying Dog was because of this beer. I like it mostly due to the nose. It is a bit thin in spots and still not too sure about the Dr.Pepper finish but it is good and easy to have 2 in a sitting. ABV is well hidden.

mulder1010, Jan 05, 2011
Photo of nihiloexnihil
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass directly from refrigerator.

A. Black, with a faint molasses-colored rim at the top and bottom if held to the light. Minimal acorn-colored head dissipates quickly. Almost no lacing in the glass.

S. Malt, dates, very light nose. A long whiff produces chocolate, maybe vanilla.

T. Almost floral on the attack, light, fragrant (tulip?), possibly grapefruit. Hints of roasted almond. The attack gives way to a thick, malt flavor that is not quite as roasted as I was expecting. Finish is bitter, hoppy, strong black coffee which lingers. Not nearly as smoky as other porters. The fruity notes mellow as the beer warms, however, and the roasted malt flavor I was expecting starts to rear its head.

M. Light for a porter, well-carbonated, not particularly smooth.

D. Feels lighter than it is. For a 7.8% ABV beer it hides the alcohol well.

Overall: Drink this beer warmer than refrigerator temperature; it really brings out the roasted, porter-like flavors one expects. This beer went from a low B to a low B+ over about 30-40 minutes.

nihiloexnihil, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of mjaskula
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass. I may have poured it a too quickly, as the thick dense brown head domed up over the top of my glass. The head thins a bit and leaves thick sheets of lace. The beer itself is black as night.

The roasted malt aroma is apparent as soon as you start the pour. There's also some sweet carmel, and hot alcohol. The flavor is as expected from the nose, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, a smooth sweetness and ends with a bit of a nutty flavor. Mouthfeel is dry. Overall this is an excellent porter.

mjaskula, Dec 31, 2010
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,491 ratings.