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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 Vengeance526
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black color, almost completely opaque with a 1 finger tan head that has decent retention.

Smells of roasted malt and a nice floral honey like scent.

Taste has a very nutty character with hints of bitter chocolate and toffee. Leaves a slight coffee-like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is very rich and smooth.

Slight warming alcohol presence in the background that does not dominate the brew. Right in in the middle of not being too bitter or too sweet. Overall highly drinkable and something I would not mind having again.

Vengeance526, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of darklordlager
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thick, syrupy black, with only a hint of light through the edges when held up to the light. A 1/2" medium-brown head greets the top of the glass, receding to a thin coating within minutes...

Smell is smoky chocolate, definitive floral/citrusy scent from the hops... nuts, dark fruits, plum, some faint pear, a bit of spiciness. Some coffee notes perhaps.

Taste is hits you up front with a creamy smoke, followed with some chocolate and finishing with very pungent hop bittery goodness...awesome.

Mouthfeel is heavy, yet not overbearing.

Drinkability--The hops keep it refreshing so the sugary-ness doesn't become overwhelming...very balanced overall. If not for the high ABV, perhaps this would be sessionable!

darklordlager, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of maddogruss
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bottle of this into a shaker glass.

A: Pours an oil-like, black body with a dark brown head with ok retention and lacing. Head starts to dissipate towards the end of the beer.

S: A slightly, roasted smell with some roasted meat aftertaste.

T: A robust, roasted barley taste with a slight, coffee aftertaste that was pretty good overall.

M: A pretty silky beer with a slight, overcarbonated feeling.

D: A nice mouthfeel and taste combination. Did a pretty good job of covering the alcohol burn from the palette, as I was only able to feel it after I had already taken a sip. While I was expecting a little more thickness to it, it was still a pretty good feeling beer overall.

maddogruss, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of sonicdescent
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Baltic porter and as such I wasn't sure what to expect.

Looks good and black with a nice creamy head. Smells hoppy as hell, unlike any porter I have ever had before. Nice and citrusy and floral scents dominate. Taste matches the smell as this reminds me more of an ipa than the porters I am used to. Mouth is thin and carbonated with quote a zing to it. I would session with this in a second.

sonicdescent, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of Bananaman
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been longing to try something from Flying Dog for quite some time now. Found this one in a pub called Pitcher's in Karlstad, Sweden.

Looks nice! Flying Dog's bottles are really cool and the beer pours a black color with a large beige foam that settles to a thin lid of foam after a while.

Smells nice of those typical American hops and some hardly roasted malts (but not in that burnt way that some american stouts smell, some vanilla fudge and slight hints of smoke going on in there and some milk-chocolate can be found too.

Tastes really good of those earlier mentioned hardly roasted malts, vanilla fudge, some light coffee notes that reminds me of Zoega's Blue Java and finally a strong background of American hops. It's a really filling beer that is a good sipper.

Bananaman, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 8/15/08. Bottle, 2007. Pours black with a pretty thick dark tan head that left nice lacing on the glass. Aroma of roast, rich sweet malt, chocolate, and alcohol. Flavor of rich sweet malt, slight roasted malt, dark fruits, and slight citrusy hops. Quite sweet. Very good beer! I wonder if it would be better fresh where you can really get a nice interplay between the sweet malt and citrusy hops? Either way, this is a winner.
8/4/8/4/15 (3.9/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of snaotheus
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer. I'm not a big porter drinker, but I thought this one was very good.

Nutty, sweet, and a little smokey. Lacking the chalky mouthfeel that I get from a lot of porters. Surprisingly light mouthfeel which helps the drinkability out quite a bit. I could drink several of these and be quite happy.

Pours a syrupy black, as you would expect, and has little head and no lacing.

snaotheus, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. It's a dark brown color that borders on black and lets no light through that I can see. Creamy looking tan head rises fast and settle to a fingers worth leaving a bit of lacing on its way down.

A deep inhalation of the vapors into the nose reveals the aroma of bitter chocolate, roasted malt and enough alcohol to tickle the nose hairs. Swirling and smelling again turns up some ripe dark fruit and a hint of hop spice. The taste is alive with all of these flavors, as the biter chocolate hits you first and turns into a alcohol infused fruitcake, then goes dry and bitter for the finish.

Not huge in body, but the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. All in all pretty good but a little to hot with alcohol right now. I will save the other Gonzo bottle from this sampler for a while before trying it again.

ZimZamZoom, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of daledeee
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark beer which poured very shiny black with a nice tan head and the head stayed there.

Nose has dark malt, coffee, dark sugars and alcohol.

Taste is bitter coffee, malt, sweet and some chocolate. The finish is very bitter. A fine porter but with lots of competition.

daledeee, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of kevd193213
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Fantastic dark brown, almost black pour with a dark brown head. Aroma of roasted malt, hops, coffee, plumb, brown sugar. Bitter predominates, but lets plenty of other complexity through. Coffee and caramel are the major notes. Smooth feel and very drinkable with a nice warming finish.

kevd193213, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of spointon
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a very dark blackish brown with ruby highlights around the edges. With an aggressive pour, the medium tan colored head started at a towering 2.5" and slowly dropped to a thin cap. Huge sticky sheets of lacing down my glass.

S= At the initial pour, I swear this thing smelled a bit like an English ESB - maybe they used the Fuller's yeast strain? After the head settled, I found very thin, weak aromas of sweet malts, carob, and roasted grains. Some minor alcohol on the nose as well.

T= Flavors were dominated by a sharp bite of roasted grains, followed by a dance of dark malt sweetness and solvent alcohol. A nice bit of earthy hop flavor crept in throughout the middle and finish as well.

MF= Slightly heavy side of medium body with a crisp carbonation and mouth feel.

D= This beer just couldn't find its niche for me. Its a porter that tastes a bit like an Imperial Stout but with a dry stout's roastiness and English ESB yeast/hop notes. It was by no means bad, it just seemed like a tangled mess of styles that confused my palate. The RIS flavors made me think the beer was too thin, but being a porter the relative thinness of the body was actually fine. I'm torn to say the least...

spointon, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of johnnnniee
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark brown with the faintest of ruby on the outer edges. Large fluffy mocha head leaves lace all over. Aroma: Holy hops, I could smell them in the pour. Pine and grapefruit lathered in chocolate and roast. Sounds bad, but smells good. Taste is roasty chocolaty even little bit of ash, especially in the finish/aftertaste. The hops are there, but not as up front as the aroma would lead you to believe, surprisingly balanced for 85 Ibu's Mouthfeel is oily and creamy, Body is a little thin, carbonation is light but appropriate. Great Baltic Porter, definitely one of the better brews I've had from Flying Dog.

johnnnniee, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. Near black pour, solid 1 finger dark tan head.

Roast malt and coffee aroma. Heavy roast malt, coffee, anise and dark chocolate with a pleasant mouthfeel. Lively, not quite creamy. Solid medium body, a slightly bitter and clean finish.

Everything good in a porter, but with the benefits of a strong ale, being the alcohol and the bite. A clean kick of hops, I'm guessing this is dry hopped. Solid version.

Bung, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, one more shot with Flying Dog. This is actually really good. Nearly black pour with brown edges, short tan head. Coffee and chocolate in the aroma mixed with smoke and burning rubber. Huge taste. Lots of coffee and chococlate again, but mixed with a generous amount of hops. The bitterness of the hops, coffee, and crystal malt is excellent, but somehow kept balanced with a sweet back. Tasty.

magictrokini, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of Vendetta
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Original Rating Date:
August 10, 2008

Thick, creamy palate and a toasted, coffee taste. Super enjoyable beer. Fabulous mouthfeel stands out along with the heavy, toasted, creamy chocolate/coffee taste.

Excellent brew to be dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson -- Despite what you think about him as a person he was a fantastic writer.

Another great beer from Flying Dog. I'm officially a fan.

Vendetta, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle marked Vintage 08FA, 7.8% ABV, 85 IBU, into a tulip-shaped Duvel glass:

A: Poured a very rich and dark opaque brown color and raspberry highlights sporting a one-finger head of medium-brown foam. Some carbonation gathers at the bottom, and great, sticky tan lace clings to the glass.

S: Lavishly scented with hints of cocoa, toasted bread and cereal malts, layered with the subtleties of burnt chocolate, weak coffee, cherry and oak. Some nice spicy, herbal hops are noticeable as well.

T: Taste is semisweet, yet bitter at first, with a full hop flavor combined with deep charred malts. The malts let of the flavor of smoked wood, dark chocolate, creamy hot cocoa and a bit of raisin come through. The finish is bittersweet and warming.

M: Mouthfeel is full bodied, slightly bitter, yet smooth and rather tasty.

D: A high quality quaffing porter. You could session it easily, but it's probably better appreciated if you let it warm a bit and take it down slowly. Outstanding drinkability on this porter.

A delightful porter from Flying Dog. Rich and bold, of course, but smooth and very likable. Sort of reminds me of Hunter S. Thompson himself in some ways. This one will satisfy maltier porter lovers as well as hopheads, because it keeps it balanced and firing from both ends. One of the best indulgent porters I've ever had. Great!

Gambrinus1184, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of froghop
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep dark brown with a small khaki head, good lacing.

smell has a lot to it, cocoa, molasses, a touch of coffee, vanilla, some malt.

taste is thick and smooth, milk and bitter chocolate, toasted walnuts, graham cracker, licorice hiding in the back, a touch of vanilla, end is nicely bitter and dry.

froghop, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of naterock
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours thick and black like used oil, medium tan head, about three fingers worth and heavy patchy lacing.

smells of rich malts, chocolatey anf creamy, fig notes are present in the nose, and something like raisins. actually has somewhat of a phenolic quality to it.

thick and rich flavors of bitter chocolate, I can taste some raisin in the finish. A very nice oakey feeling in the body that actually wins me in this beer. A bit too much alcohol in the taste, but it doesn't distract from the beer.

thick, oily. nice carbonation but could use less. I could enjoy a couple but this is one thick bastard. This is the best beer flying dog makes, but that doesn't say much about their other beers. this one is good but just shy of great.

naterock, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of DoctorDog
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

**NOTE** This brew is listed here as having an 9.20% ABV, while my bottle and the Flying Dog website lists it at 7.8% ABV.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Very, very dark brown/borderline black, and opaque. Hard pour produces 2+ fingers of creamy tan head, which fades very slowly to a thin, complete cap. Thick, foamy lacing.

S- A strong grapefruit smell upon pouring. Vague cocoa notes begin to appear as it warms.

T- Citrusy hit on the front, and a nice smooth cocoa/coffee bitterness on the finish. Alcohol blends superbly with the grapefruity hops flavors/sensations.

M- Extremely smooth and wonderfully creamy for a porter. Very, very nice.

D- Excellent. This one could be savored as a sipper, or could be enjoyed consuming multiples at a faster pace.

Future outlook: Out of sight brew IMO. I will definitely be buying again, and am glad to have the rest of my 4 pack to dispose of.

DoctorDog, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of snipedthetender
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was amazing. I bought the Canis Major four pack. All of the beers in it were delicious, but this one stood out. It was by far one of the best Porters I've ever had. Also the artwork on the bottle is amazing. Flying Dog set a new standard for bottle art by hiring Ralph Steadman .

snipedthetender, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: This beer pours an opaque black color with a small mocha colored head that had minimal staying power with no lacing on my glass.
Scent: Black malt and coffee dominate the nose on this beer, but as the beer warmed I also get dark fruit, smoke, and alcohol.
Flavor: The roasted malt comes in full force to start the beer, but is quickly followed by a rather strong hop bitterness. I also get more dark fruit, sugar sweet chocolate, and freeze dried coffee grounds. The flavors seem to be everywhere and nothing is really melding very well for me.
Mouthfeel: The texture is my favorite aspect and is very creamy and full bodied with good carbonation on this offering, but the alcohol was quite present on this offering.
Drinkability: I would most likely only have of these in a sitting, and I wouldn't seek out this beer very often.

I wasn't that big of a fan of this beer. The flavors were everywhere and the alcohol was still quite hot for me.

TheodorHerzl, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of Nubster
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank from a pint glass, served cellar temp.

A - Poured creamy and very dark. Very nice inch and a half milk chocolate colored head. Lasted a few minutes then disappeared but maintained a thin layer covering the entire top of the beer.

S - Definitely malty with a hint of coffee and alcohol.

T - A little sweet on the tip of the tongue with a nice bitter on the back. Got some coffee for sure. There is a definite alcohol taste throughout. For me this is a strong tasting beer. Seems to be getting better as it warms (drinking while I type). At first I wasn't too sure but it is starting to grow on me.

M - Creamy. Coats lightly. Slight carbonation that is nice and mot too overpowering.

D - For me it is not there. I bought this one as a single and I am not sure that I would get it again. Maybe later as my tastes better develops as I am still very new to beer. I may have jumped in to this one too soon. I know for sure I could not drink more than this one in a single sitting.

Nubster, Nov 28, 2008
Photo of Jablonski
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: has a dark chocolate color, which has some red tints when held up to the light; small head that is a light brown in color

Smell: malt and alcohol both apparent in the smell

Taste: coffee and malt apparent as is the alcohol; tastes a bit like an imperial stout

Drinkability: no more than 2 at once, and maybe that's pushing it; however, it's not hard to finish a beer at all

Jablonski, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of chiapete
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this around a little while but seems to have held up well.

Poured a dark black , which wouldn't let light through , some dark red edges when up to light.
Has a light brown , tan head that fades to a nice top on the beer.
has some slight lace down glass.
Had a slight aroma , hard to pick out much . some woodiness , roasted malt.
taste was good bitter chocolate, roasted malt , some coffee , a little bitterness , but a good balance through the drink. I noticed more pronounced taste as the beer warmed. Alcohol in the back.
drinkable . better warmed a little bit . will try this one again with a little fresher bottle.

chiapete, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of midaszero
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black with one finger of coffee head with a little lacing. Head fades quickly

S - Chocolate malt. A deeper scent develops as it warms up

T - Dark chocolate and malts

M - Medium body with light carbonation

D - Pretty enjoyable and easy to drink

midaszero, Nov 24, 2008
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,491 ratings.