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Gonzo Imperial Porter - Flying Dog Brewery

Not Rated.
Gonzo Imperial PorterGonzo Imperial Porter

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2,658 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,658
Reviews: 1,433
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 109
Gots: 209 | 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: 2,658 | Reviews: 1,433 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Magpie14
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: the pour put forth a fairly black color with some burnt brown hues. The lacing is sticky and in the most interconnected random order. The head formed quickly and is sugary mocha in color and quickly melted down to a fizz ring

S: blackened malts, strong espresso coffee, chocolate, and strong whiffs of pine needles. Nose is unusual to say the least. I am finding that the pine smells are becoming more and more present as the malts fall in the back

T: the flavors leave room to be desired. The malts are quite sugary and the coffee takes on smoky and stale dimensions. Within this, the pine hops are nice and somewhat misplaced and clash with the other flavors, they fail to mingle well. I also gather burnt dark molasses that brings about a tacky character. I also pick out some crusty bitter chocolate malts
Flavors are nicely unique, but do not mesh very well. These flavors hit you and then...nothing.

M: body is leaning towards full and is rather slick. Buttery burnt flavors mingle as my glass is mostly gone

D: it is somewhat rich and has a lot going on...but something is missing. It needs a bigger punch, flavors are kind of shallow

Photo of Aenema
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours jet black with a large, soapy tan head. Not much lacing.
Smell - Chocolate, cocoa and a strong hop presence fights through the initial chocolate aroma.
Taste - Roasted malts with both chocolate and coffee notes, finishing with a firm hop backbone. Aftertaste is a little too bitter.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied, creamy, and moderately carbonated.
Drinkability - Very drinkable for such a rich, flavorful beer.

Photo of merryjoulton
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smells like chocolate covered coffee beans... actually I wonder what those smell like? Would the coffee aroma seep through the coffee even? Well anyways, that's what this smells like, along with some roasty malts. Tastes very unique, chocolatey and very bitter. The hops in this brew were very well coordinated. Mouthfeel is full and creamy and thick, drinkability is great.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 7oz pony bottle from the mixed 8-pack. These ponies rock as the perfect size for higher ABV beers. I wish more brewers would adopt/go back to using these; enough with the fucking high ABV bombers already! Poured into a nonic pint glass, this porter appears a deep chestnut color with about a finger of ecru foam. Nose and flavor are of nicely roasted and caramelized grains/malts, dark fruits, mocha, and a touch of alcohol. Smooth and full bodied with ample carbonation. A great and consistent baltic. Check it out if you can.

Photo of biggred1
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darkest brown with a slight, whipped creamy tan head that leaves thick fine lace behind. Cocoa tinged roasted malt with molasses, dark fruit and some hoppiness struggling to get through the quagmire. Coffee and raisin with dark rum and a charred bitterness with warming alcohol in the finish. Smooth medium mouthfeel with fine carbonation. A very nice offering from FD.

Photo of DiabolikDUB
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from Bottle into Snifter glass.

Pours a deep, thick black with a nice one inch tan head that very slowly dissipates into a fine film around the glass. Very classy looking. The aroma is of bitter chocolate and slight dried fruits and roasted malts. WOW... The flavor on this is packed with striking coffee bitterness, chocolate, licorice, and just a touch of smoke and maybe leather. The alcohol has a lasting warming presence. The mouthfeel is suprising medium-bodied and ends with a semi-dry finish. Classy. Overall, I am extremely impressed with this beer. While there is an obvious presence of alcohol, I would still drink a couple of these through-out an adventurous evening.

Photo of Clydesdale
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Completely opaque pitch black. The brown head is tall, dense, frothy, and creamy. Retention is good, with some nice lacing.

S: Some roasted dark malt is obviously present. Coffee, some faint dark chocolate, and charcoal notes. Some vague fruity notes as well. Resiny spruce/pine hop aromas.

T: Roasted, slightly burnt malt provides some sweetness. Sweetened espresso flavor is prominent, along with some charcoal. A bit of chocolate. A piney, slightly spicy hop character. A hint of alcohol into the finish.

M: Rather full-bodied. Carbonation is very light. A sticky feel fades into a slightly dry finish.

D: A big, flavorful Baltic Porter from Flying Dog. One of their first beers I can say that I enjoyed solidly. That said, it's good, not great. A bit shallow and lacking in complexity.

Photo of alcstradamus
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A--Pours almost black, only the faintest highlight shows when this is held to the light. Standard pour in my pint glass yields two fingers of head. A little bit of lacing sticks.

S--Caramel, chocolate, hops, vanilla. Very nice nose.

T--Taste follows the nose fairly well minus the vanilla. Sweet caramel-like malt is at the forefront, pine hops on the back end. The chocolate is barely there, and there is a roastiness that is like a mix of ash and coffee grounds that I don't care for. This is OK tasting, but nothing noteworthy at all.

M--Medium bodied with perhaps slightly too much carbonation, stings a little on the way down

D--Decent porter, nothing noteworthy to add

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

What's not to love about a beer named after the good Dr. Thompson?

Nice rich brown color as I expecdted. I got a whiff of chocolate and coffee as well as malt. The taste matched the aroma too but I also got a bit of citrus as well. This beer had higher carbonation than a lot of porters, which for me is a good thing though it ever so slightly detracts from the mouthfeel, especially for this style.

Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours nice and dark, thick .5 inch tan head, leaves to ring. Clingy lacing apparent.

S - Cocoa and sea breeze. Not the best part of the beer.

T - Cocoa, some light coffee. Nice flavors, very reined in.

M - Very carb, maybe a little too much, nice coating, good balance.

D - Pretty easy to drink, for sure.

Photo of BeanBone
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Extremely dark brown body with the barest brown highlights poking through around the edges. On top, a generous caramel-colored head that leaves dense sheets of lacing.

Aroma: Lots of roasted malt surprisingly tempered with a big dose of piney and citrusy hops. A few hints of alcohol in the back, especially as it warms.

Taste: A sweet roasted malt body balanced with a nice bitterness. The hops are a very welcome addition here. That nearly eight percent alcohol makes it's presence known from time-to-time, but mostly stays hidden. Afterwards, a bitter and roasty aftertaste, reminiscent of black coffee.

Mouthfeel: The body is smooth and just barley on the full side of medium. Good carbonation.

Drinkability: Quite average for the style. Not quite a sipper, but certainly not a quick beer either.

Verdict: This is a very tasty little Porter and definitely one of the better offerings from Flying Dog. I'm looking forward to finding more Porters with a big hop presence like this. As for the little bottle, I would have no problem whatsoever with a full 12oz., making the 7oz. serving size a bit of a tease in this beer's case.

Photo of pradipta
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours as dark as a moonless night. brownish head which subsides quickly leaving a 2mm thick clingy film. a bit too much of toasted malt in the nose and taste for my liking, but the lasting pleasant aftertaste more than makes up for it. could become an acquired taste!

Photo of mdubzfrumpdubz
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

picked up an overpriced 4-pack, because I was surprised to see it in stock. It has been a while ... So long, that I did not realize that it was only 7.8%. I remember falling in love with this beer a few years ago, and it was 9% ... but whatever.

pours as I expect a good porter to pour. Roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, minimal booze in the nose. Mouth is alive...this is way more drinkable than I remember. Bitter chocolate notes, and some crisp hops coming through....coffee too. Tastes exactly like it smells. Some booze at the end that lingers. All around great porter, but not the one I thought I was buying.

Photo of webmanspidey
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown/black.. creamy appearance. Sweet, rich smell with a burning alcohol presence. Raisins and molasses as well.

Sweet and mellow chocolate raisin flavor. Pretty light, not much alcohol taste at all (especially compared to the smell)... leading this to be very drinkable for something 9.2%abv. Mouthfeel is not as thick and creamy as I would've thought as it is actually fairly light. I would've liked it to be a little more complex, this is pretty good.

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One finger tan head with a mix of large and foamy small bubbles, lace sheeting and a ring. Very dark, opaque, a bright light reveals active carbonation near the edges and just below the surface. Looks promising! Smell of chocolate wafer, cocoa, a bit earthy - as in soil. Head easily regenerates. Taste is bitter dark chocolate, licorice, IBUs at 85 weigh in nicely, good balance with malt at the back end, alcohol hardly noticeable. Good texture, smooth and creamy, slight astringence, lingering aftertaste. All around, a pretty impressive imperial porter.

Photo of TLove
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

Appearance heavy and black, as to be expected for a baltic porter. But a little thin-looking and not much on the head.

Smells like dark chocolate and molasses.

8% ABV strong up front. Stylistically confusing, but strong smoky flavor and fried plantains.

Low carbonation. Well-structured and full in the mouth. Porter mix is strong, but drinks well and smooth in the end.

Good imperial porter, but not exceptional in any way.

For Flying Dog Brewery, this is as good as it gets in my opinion.

Photo of philbe311
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Active pour which is fairly slow to settle... Humongous dark rich caramel colored compact rocky batter-like head... Stellar retention... Sleek yet muted completely opaque black color... Good stickiness as the head clings to the glass as the level of liquid diminishes...

S - Roasted malt... Baker's chocolate... Hops... Weak espresso... Much weaker than I would have expected...

T - Roasted malt... Bitter dark chocolate... Alcohol...

M - That's nice... Exceedingly smooth... Rich and creamy... Not much in the way of carbonation... Full bodied... Slightly burnt aftertaste lingers...

D - This is an excellent Baltic Porter... The weak scent / aroma keep this from being a world class porter... Still excellent none the less...

Photo of AChamberlain
4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7oz bottle from mixed Major Canis pack. Poured dark. Only the slightest highlights. With a thick brown head. Quite lovely. Some roasted coffee aromas, chocolate as well. Roasted, nutty flavor. MMM, mmm good sweetness, vanilla. The dry nutty flavor is perfect. Slick and viscous, but still has good body to it. Good beer to swish around. A really good porter, terrific sipper. My favorite Flying Dog release so far. Seven ounces is a good serving size for this one, even though let's be honest, I will probably have another one.

Photo of NHJim
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= black - this is the first one that was black in my porter reviews. The head got two rows high of bubble across the whole glass then soon went to one ring of bubbles only around the outside of the glass with no lacing.

S= not a lot for me to go by - some malts and a little of bitter chocolate and a little strong coffee

T= very smooth and rich, a hint of molasses and a faint coffee and chocolate with a little taste of bitters.

M= creamy with a little carbination a good combo of flavor with a warm alcohol after taste.

D= very nice - I liked it and may buy it again - still my fav is Harpoon Baltic Porter

Photo of scottyshades
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a rich, thick mahogany color that creates a decent off-white head that creates the cathedral effect on the glass. Yeast is visible in the pint glass.

S: Brown sugar, dates, raisins, apples, cinnamon, mocha, butterscotch, roasted malts, citrus, pine, and a grassy note. Very unique nose. Slightly bready as well.

T: More roasted goodness, coffee (out of nowhere), dates, raisins, molasses, and that grassy note that creates a piney bitterness. Alcohol is present (barely) which in my book, takes a little away from the flavor profile.

MF/D: Full body, decent carbonation, goes down a little less-than-smooth, but still enjoyable

Photo of beerman207
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I attended a tasting for Flying dog brews and out of the 11 we sampled, this was the best so i bought a single to review here.

A - Two fingers of head with nice lacing. Dark beer - much darker than most porters.

S - Carmel, chocolate,faint alcohol coming through.

T - The bitterness of this one lingers for a while and is quite nice. The caromel and chocolate make up the body of the brew.

M - Medium carbonation - nice mouthfeel

D - Honestly - not sure how many of these I could have. It was a good beer but a little low toward the drinkability scale.

Photo of therica
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= totally black 100% dense liquid with a good-sized creamy dense tan head, plenty of lacing.

S= not overly present but very nice, more apparent as it warms. Whiffs of licorice, toasted malts, hops.

T= amazingly smooth and rich, with molasses (possibly burnt?) and sweetness, plenty of the usual coffee and chocolate tones, nice hops bitters presence.

M= tongue feels like it does after a bold cup of espresso; hints of all the taste traits to savor.

D= very drinkable but probably not in a long session due to both the heaviness and also the high ABV%.

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

A billowing head of toffee over black and brown. Spots of lace. Retention. You name it.

Bittersweet chocolate and espresso paired with hop bitterness on the nose. Roasty and toasty.

Sweet and bitter on the tongue. Coffee is dominant. Chocolate and hops aren't far behind. Some astringency.

Creamy medium to heavy mouthfeel. Etoh presence a little high.

Easy drinking Baltic porter with definite character and easily the coolest Ralph Steadman artwork for Flying Dog.

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a seven ounce bottle from the “Canis Major” sampler, into a standard nonic.

Pours black as death with a huge four finger head that refuses to recede past a finger. Sticks absolutely and coats the sides of the glass like pepto.

Aroma is of chocolate and fruit. Like dark chocolate bars with raisins and cranberries. Not very strong, but what you can pull out smells delish.

Flavor is of dark roasted malt, slightly weak and with a little bit of fruit and slight smoke. Middle is watery and boozy, little flavor to go on here. Finishes bitter, between the dark roasted malt and the light hop flavor the end is dry.

Mouthfeel is creamy full bodied and nice. Carbonation is perfect and does not mute the flavor.

Kinda disappointed here. The ABV should give WAY more flavor ad body than this. The beer was kinda 1.5 dimensional. While better than most, the flavor and aroma was a let down.

Photo of schellsbeer
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First review for the Flying Dog Brewery...and its about time.

Might as well go straight to the top. Since I am a lover of the Porters and Stouts, I saw no reason starting any place else than with the Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter.

A - Nice very dark brown porter. Almost black but not quite. Poured into my snifter and let it sit for a few minutes. Nice 1/2 inch light tan head that slowly disappeared.

S - Dark roasted malts hit the nose right off the bat. Some alcohol but not much. A hop presence is there but again, not much to talk about. Remember, this is a porter and malt is king.

T - Nice STRONG porter. Alcohol is not hidden but I'm ok with that. Strong burnt malt flavor. Not heavy like some porters. Bitter. Not sweet. I also like that. I don't want sweet in my strong porters unless I am drinking a Milk Stout. Not that complex....just a good strong beer. Could there have been more...Yes but it could have been a lot less too. Roasted Marshmallows that are on the verge of starting on fire. Good.

M - Not as creamy as many imperial stouts and porters. Not thick either. Somewhat thin. For this reason, lower value here.

D - At $10 for a 4 pack, the drinkability is lower than most because I would rather pay $7.99 for the Sierra Nevada Porter and get 6 bottles instead of 4. Probably the last time I purchase this beer just because there are so many others out there to try. Don't get me wrong, this is a fine beer but I need to watch what I spend $10 on these days.

Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,658 ratings.