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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.

2,527 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,527
Reviews: 1,415
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 91
Gots: 162 | 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
Ratings: 2,527 | Reviews: 1,415 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rfgetz
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, near black with small cap of khaki head, little retention or lacing. Scent is complex for a porter with notes of cocoa poweder, ground coffee, light notes of smoke and char, hints of tart berries, noticable alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malts that envoke cocoa powder and coffee, minimal to moderate sweetness, notes of smoke and dark berries... alcohol and hops on the back end. Medium bodied, like a porter, but begs for some more heft, a tad high in carbonation. A very nice amped up porter.

rfgetz, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of spree92
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

9.2% ABV with bottle date of vintage 10JJ.
At first glance, it looks black. Upon closer inspection, I want to say a heavy, thick brown with no transparency. The light brown head was small to begin with and withered down to a permanent skimming. A hoppy yet sweet nose. When layering through, there is also roasted malts, oak and a little molasses. The floral from any hops just won't escape me, I love it. Almost like a CDA (Cascadian Dark Ale). Taste is totally different than I would have thought, taking into account the smell. Heavy malt characters with the roasted and espresso being upfront. The is a touch of carbonation that feels right. Creamy but also syrupy. It will stick to your ribs but I wouldn't want this any other way. One of my favorite Imp. Stout/Porters.

spree92, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of eric5bellies
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark deep Ebony colour with a smallish head that dies quick.

S - Some hickory smokeness present and a little chocolate.

T - A bit of smokeyness up front followed by cocoa. A hint of dark stewed fruits and earthyness.

M - Slightly overcarbonated and medium body.

O - I like the oilyness of this beer and worth a try.

eric5bellies, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brown to black color with a nice creamy head. The head dissipates a little too quickly. You can't see anything through the glass. This is a very dark and heavy brew.

Smell: Coffee. Blueberries. Dark chocolate. Citric hops.

Taste: It taste of dark chocolate with a dry coffee flavor. Sweet blueberry flavors. It's very warming with a bitter finish. The hops are present and present a good contrast to the heavy malts.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and thick. The taste develop in the mouths.

Drinkability: It is a great desert beer and a strong Porter. I'm sure I can find better in the category of Imperial (baltic) porter. It's a good beginning for me in this category.

BerkeleyBeerMan, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of Krakistophales
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Like most porters, it pours jet black. This one has a bit of a head, maybe half a finger, and a few minutes in it still has good carbonation collecting at the top.

S: A bit of a smoky smell, maybe some cocoa notes, but mostly chocolatey and smoky

T: The initial taste is a mix of smoke and chocolate, with the middle actually having...some tartness? Maybe I'm smoking some of the good stuff, but this one gives me a black cherry sort of tartness, with the aftertaste returning to a sort of smoky, peat, tannin sort of taste. Pretty complicated, but in a good way.

M: This one is fizzier than most porters I've had, but that's probably due to a lower ABV. It's rather light as well, and drinkable.

O: I like this one. It tastes pretty good, though I think something like Avery's Mephistopheles porter is the best one I've tasted so far. Not sure if I'd get this one again, but definitely recommended.

Krakistophales, Mar 19, 2011
Photo of TheBear11D
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle

Pours very dark, nearly black with a dark tan brown head that developed easily and lasted a while producing pleasant amounts of lacing.

The aroma is covered in malt with coffee and chocolate leading the way. There is a fairly strong aroma of alcohol, but with the ABV it would be hard to imagine that not being present.

The flavor is fantastic! Roasted coffee paired with bittersweet chocolate are the prominent flavors. The alcohol is not really noticeable. The bittersweet chocolate hangs around well into the aftertaste and there is just the slightest hint of pine hops.

Medium body that is creamy and features sharp carbonation.

Quite enjoyable. This is an enjoyable beer all the way around. I would recommend you try a few.

TheBear11D, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 3/8/2011

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: coffee / chocolate, malts

taste: coffee, chocolate, bitter, lil roast / smoke, dry finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth, full body, creamy

drinkability: high presence of roasted malts tends to be a little smokey with a dry finish. Perfect 12oz pour anymore would of been to rich for my taste buds.



THECPJ, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of MadCat
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have to start off saying, this would probably not do so good if I reviewed according to the "Baltic Porter" guidelines, but, I am reviewing it against the style the bottle claims it to be, namely a more intense, americanized version of a porter. More alcohol, more hops. I feel it does an "Imperial Porter" very well.

Appearance: Black with a voluminous carmely brown head, that dissipates fast and leaves good lacing.

Smell: Hoppy, roasted malts, kinda like a hoppy American Imperial Stout with the malts toned down. Chocolate, caramel, and fruit notes in there.

Taste: Hoppy, roasted malts, with a piney hop finish. Chocolate, caramel, fruity, citrusy notes, I detect some plums in there. Very complex and quite unique, very enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, light carbonation gives it a silky smooth texture

Drinkability: Surprisingly better than I expected, I could actually drink a couple of these in a sitting.

MadCat, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of AmericanGothic
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Label says 9.2% ABV, 85 IBU. Vintage 10EE means it was bottled in 2010.

A: Deep brown, pours like oily molasses, very little head, no lace. Almost completely opaque.

S: Fantastic. Bitter chocolate, toffee, molasses and ripe, dark fruits. A whiff of smoke.

T: Roasted malts, chocolate goes from sweet to unsweetened. Then toffee on the finish. Alcohol lends a note of cabernet. Prunes and smoke. Chocolate covered coffee beans. An awful lot of flavor here. Those 85 IBUs hide pretty well in the mix.

M: Very smooth, full-bodied. Light carbonation persists through the glass without getting in the way.

D: Surprisingly drinkable for such a strong beer. A sipper for sure, but a second for the evening is a strong possibility.

Notes: It says on the label that "Good people drink good beer." Some of them must be drinking this. Will definitely buy again.

AmericanGothic, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of zeledonia
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes, November 2010. Pours a dark brown, with a half-finger brown head. Smell is of roasted chocolate malt, but rather straightforward and simple. Taste is round, heavy on the roasted malt (lots of chocolate flavor), with some hops to back it up, but not a ton of complexity to the flavor. Mouthfeel is decent, fairly heavy but smooth, light on carbonation. Strong alcoholic kick. In general, pretty good as far as baltic porters go, but not one of the best.

zeledonia, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle at about 50 degrees into thin-walled glass.

Pours with a thick, foamy brown head over an opaque black body. Tons of lacing.

Aromas are quite vinous, with a roasted bittersweet chocolate and kiss of black licorice.

Pretty smooth on the palate, with roasted dark malted barley flavor in the forefront, and tangy sour quality throughout the middle. Some hop bite in the finish. Light aftertaste of earthy bark-like quality. Fairly high in carbonation to cut through the alchohol - which is really well hidden.

Pretty nice drinkability for the style - full of flavor, very nice mouthfeel, and a nice representation of the style.

BeerImmediately, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of hwy61mb
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 12oz. bottle had VINTAGE 10EE stamped on the label. I poured this beer into a snifter.

This is a very dark brown and opaque. The little head faded into a ring around the glass fairly quickly and there is a low degree of lacing.

This beer smells big and strong. I can smell some malts and a slight hint of chocolate. I also think I smell olives, which seems weird to be writing. I would say that sweetness is the basic smell involved here. I can also detect some alcohol in the nose.

The taste basically follows the nose, with a slight hop flavor in the middle of the taste. It definitely tastes like a porter with it's burnt malt flavor, but there is something else, slightly acidic tasting (maybe the same thing that I called the "olive smell"). The mouthfeel is thick and low to moderately carbonated. I really enjoy this beer and I will purchase this one again.

hwy61mb, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2010 vintage, poured into tulip pint.

A: Pours an opaque very dark brown/black, with two fingers of foamy tan head that looks like oatmeal. Dissipates slowly, leaving consistent lacing around the glass.

S: Dark roasted malts are pretty predominant here, with a good deal of coffee and a light dark chocolate aroma. Some citrus and pine hops can both be picked up, along with a touch of vanilla.

T: Rich, roasted malts also figure in prominently here, with coffee and chocolate compliments. A bit of dark fruit and charred caramel sweetness both factor in as well. Bittersweet finish, with a good deal of lingering chocolate. Oddly enough, I got the impression with this beer that its flavor was richer when I first started drinking/it was colder, and that it was a bit thinner closer to room temperature. Unsure why this is the case, but it didn't factor into my decision much.

M: Medium-thick body, with light-moderate carbonation (almost perfect for the style). Quite smooth, with a long, lingering, sticky finish that really adheres the beer's flavors to one's palate.

D: Great for a glass at time, and one I'll definitely be picking up again. Fully enjoyed this one, even if I'm not hurting for another immediately.

AwYeh, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of Reagan1984
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ordered this at the Bier Baron in DC.. Just saw it on one of the top lists and figured it was time to try it.

Off to a great start as it appears to be close to the visual perfect pint. Creamy tan head with structure rises well above the rim of the glass. The beer is a very dark brown and leaves behind tons of lacing.

Thick roasted aroma that hints of some ash flavor to come. Slight sweetness.

Big roasty flavor and not very sweet at all. Truth be told I don't really get too much chocolate or coffee here. More of a straight dark roasted grain flavor. I think a touch more sweetness would have rounded this out nicely.

Pretty viscous beer, very subtle and fine carbonation. Some fine grit on your tongue.

Pretty good, but not quite as exciting as I had heard.

Reagan1984, Mar 02, 2011
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.

mistakebythelake, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of Schreibeers
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown almost black. Nice 1-2 finger head with some beautiful lacing.

S: Average plus. Not much here.

T: Smooth sweet bitterness. Very thin

M: Thin with some bitterness, coffee notes, and chocolate flavors. What you would expect in a porter. Little booziness.

D: Overall very underwhelming beer.

Schreibeers, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-pours very dark and has gigantic head that stays around. Not much lacing.

S- roasty and malty. Sweet and nuttty taste

T- nice big taste initial bitter sweetness with a malty note. Very subtle bitter lingering

M- feels good. Smooth with small carbonation feels kinda light but not bad

D- definately drinkable. Good porterporter

Gushue3, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of BeardedRiker
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The artwork on the label is cool, with a sort of cowboy that has a skull as a face saying, "Ok! Let's party!"

I poured the beer into my Old Rasputin glass and got a large bubbly caramel/toffee colored head. The beer itself was the color of black coffee.

It smelled very sweet right off and slightly smokey like roasted coffee.

When I first tasted the porter I wasn't too impressed. It was very smooth and the 8.5% ABV was very strong. There was a slight coffee taste and some spiciness from hops but other than that it tasted kind of weak in body. However, I let it sit for awhile, as I do with a lot of beers sometimes, until it was not as cold and enjoyed it much more. I've found that cold beers often mask underlying flavors in beers. This is especially true of hoppy beers. When they are cold the hops are very strong and the rest is often masked but if you let the beer sit out to warm up a but - not too warm - then the rest of the flavors will be unveiled and waiting to be enjoyed. The same was true for the Gonzo. After kicking some ass in Call of Duty 4 I began to drink it again and tasted a much more full-bodied and enjoyable beer. There was much more coffee and toffee flavors that gave the middle and finish to the beer a sort of sweet-smokey flavor.

So remember, if you're not liking a beer you might want to let it warm up a bit. That's my beer tasting advice for the day.

BeardedRiker, Feb 25, 2011
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.

Jesse13713, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of BretSikkink
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark black in color with a somewhat sparse offwhite head. Decent lacing completes a pretty average-but-imposing porter presence. Nose is roasted malt-coffee heavy, but somewhat underwhelming. Piney, resinous hopping.

The hops are bracingly pine-driven and oddly aggressive in their bitterness. The malt side contributes somewhat to the bitter nature by being quite dry, with notes of cold, sour coffee and middling-grade chocolate.

Body is fine, but the carbonation is too flat. This isn't a bad porter, but far from great.

BretSikkink, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of quine
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

9.2% ABV bottle

A: Pours a deep, dark brown with a thin tan head.

S: Aromas of dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

T: Tastes of bitter chocolate, roasted malts, coffee. Somewhat hoppy, which complements the taste. Slightly alcoholic towards the end.

M: Smooth and creamy, with low carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Hardly a hint of the alcohol and very well balanced.

quine, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of McNealc31
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Starts off deep brown with a nice tan head. Huge roasted malt smell in the nose. The taste is where things get a little off the beaten path. It's creamy and a bit more bitter than most porters. Some vanilla sweetness up front. Chocolate and coffee in the finish along with some wood. A hoppy bitterness lingers, too.

Overall, it's more aggressive than most porters, and it certainly works.

McNealc31, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer has a fabulous appearance. The liquid is completely opaque and extremely dark.The head is thick and dense, standing in at nearly two inches thick. As it gradually recedes, it utterly coats the glass with thick, sticky lacing.

S: Roast and chocolate aromas, fainter than I would have expected based on the size of the beer and fab appearance.

T: Decent tasting roast and chocolate flavors with a bit of old, dusty coffee. The chocolate aspect tastes a bit chalky. I wish the coffee, roast, and chocolate notes had more freshness and presence.

M: Medium to full bodied with a slight alcohol presence throughout.

D: An OK beer, but not something I would seek out.

Huhzubendah, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of crossovert
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2010 vintage.

It pours a deep, dark blackish-bown with a foamy, cascading tan head. The head sticks for a nice long while. Some nice lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as it recedes.

The smell is big and bold with roasted malt scents, cocoa, and dark fruit.

The flavor isn't quintessential Baltic Porter, rather it tastes more like a Russian Imperial Stout. IT is big and creamy with a big hit of roastiness in the from of coffee and roasted malts. It has thick alcoholic undertones that blend with a bit of caramel and fruity sweetness. And of course there is some cocoa and a touch of hops.

It guess it would land somewhere between a Baltic Porter and RIS. It has a fruitiness that is almost Belgian Strong Dark.

A solid effort.

crossovert, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into tulip glass at the watermark in asbury

Pours a deep mahogany brown color with dark black edges. A frothy tanned head struggles to retain before fading into wispy film and rings of lacing on the glass.

A nice punch of caramel malt with molasses and dark hoppiness. Slight alcohol warmth and breadiness in the nose.

Roasted malts with rich, somewhat sweet components. Molasses, licorice, and caramel are all present. Deep, dark malt presence with a somewhat subdued hop profile. Finishes with boozy warmth and pine hop bitterness.

Fuller medium body, nice carbonation, a bit chewy and sticky. Decent drinking and worthy of purchasing again, but a little hotter than I'd like when fresh.

xnicknj, Feb 16, 2011
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,527 ratings.