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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.

2,530 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,530
Reviews: 1,415
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 91
Gots: 163 | 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: 2,530 | Reviews: 1,415 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of morimech
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with one inch of tan head that had good retention. The head settles to a thick cap. A lot of lacing is left on the glass surface. THe aroma conists of roasted, mildly burnt malt, chocolate, with a hint of alcohol. The alcohol is nicely covered up in the aroma and taste even though it is up close to the 10% mark. The flavor is good but rather one dimensional. The malt comes through but it just leaves a slightly burnt bitterness that lasts through the finish. Slight warming from the alcohol. Medium body with low carbonation combines for a nice texture for a malty, high ABV beer. Not a beer I would drink more than one a sitting, but it is good for the style.

morimech, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of MacDomer
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from 2007

A - Very dark, almost black. Some faint ruby highlights when held up to some light. 1 inch light brown/tan head, if that...all my pours have weak head tonight. Pretty good lacing on this one.

A - Didn't get much from this at first, so I let it sit for 10 minutes and it opened up a bit. Thick and gooey, fudge-like actually. Toasty malts and smoke. Pretty appealling.

T - Begins with some nice moderate roasted malts, espresso spiked brownies, a nice richness. Well balanced with bitter hops which mix in some citrusy flavors before finishing with a nice coffee bitterness. A hint of alcohol in the finish.

M - Medium bodied, just right for a porter. Smooth and creamy, especially as it warms.

D - Let this one warm up!! Really nice after 20 minutes from the fridge. A "fast sipper" I'd call it - don't really need to take forever to drink this, but I wouldn't rush it either. Boy, this is really, really good towards the end...I'd drink this only slightly cold next time around. Really nice!!!

MacDomer, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Nearly black, opaque beer, topped with an initially thick and dense brown head. Head reduced slowly to a dense, thin layer of bubbles. Minimal lacing.

S-Very little aroma. Some very light roasty malts and light esters. I would have liked/expected a bit more aroma.

T-Deep, dark roasted malts, fading to a chocolatiness layerd atop subtle, dark fruits and raisins. This malts (at times almost sweet) are nicely balanced by a very present bitterness. Some mild roast astringency. Light alcohol flavor/feel in the last half of the taste.

M-The first thing I noticed was an alcoholic warmth on the palate and on the way down. Has a medium body feel in my mouth, wome viscosity almost. This beer moves around very quickly in my mouth. Low-moderate carbonation.

D-This is a nice beer. Pretty easy to drink, considering the alcohol content. A very good beer to keep me warm on a chilly late-November evening. I look forward to having this one again.

CHSLBrew, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

08 vintage

A: Pours a deep black with a silky-looking mocha head that fades quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

S: Nose is complex and pleasant, albeit a bit muted. Dark fruits, some black maltiness, citrus hops that add a nice dimension, and a woody, vanilla like aroma akin to oak-aged beer. Aroma could be stronger, but that's my only complaint.

T&M: Dark chocolate and coffee flavor mixed well with some sweet caramel flavor and a pleasant piney, citrusy hop flavor that doesn't overpower. There's also a balancing acidity to it that's quite enjoyable. Finish is long and complex--a reprise of hop flavor, some chocolate and coffee. The flavor of this beer exudes balance and boldness. It's big-bodied with a touch more carbonation than a RIS, which gives it a nice peppy mouthfeel.

D: For being so big, it actually drinks pretty easily. Additionally, the high ABV didn't factor into the flavor at all for me, which is always a plus. I'll definitely be seeking out this beer again in the future.

BamaBeerBuff, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of currysage1
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet red with chestnut around the edges, seems to be quite clear. Topped with one finger head that took a hard pour to bring about, sinks to a nice spotty covering with great lacing.

Smell is a hoppier version of what I am used to for Baltics, has the typical dark fruit but with more of a booze undertone. nice toasted grains in there as well, this has a straightforward clean smell.

Taste is baking chocolate mixed with prunes and mission figs, definate booze toward the end, very pleasing. Nice hop bitterness towards the end.

Feel is what I would expect, thicker than what I associate with a Baltic but totally within style, nice and creamy. Carbonation is prickly and doesn't allow the heavy flavors to get boring. I could have another but need to switch after that.

currysage1, Nov 15, 2008
Photo of katan
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, 08aa vintage

A - Dark as night. Very thick. Reminds me of a stout consistency. Looks syrupy. The head is minimal, but what little is there is mocha in color. Dissipates quickly.

S - Very pungent. Strong notes of chocolate and roasted barely. Perhaps something like maple. Very sweet to the nose.

T - Starts the smooth dark chocolate flavor. Moves to a roasted malt mid-finish that includes just a hair of coffee. Finishes with some phenolic notes associated with its high abv.

M - Thick and syrupy. Lots of body. Smooth as it goes down. Obviously is loaded with sugars.

D - Deceivingly easy to drink. The high abv is fairly well hidden, and the malty flavors aren't overbearing. In the category of a high abv porter, this works for me.

katan, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of chaz410
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the second anti-oktoberfest on tap next to the tire bite. What a contrast! This beer is exceptionally good and unique for the style of porters. First off it is an imperial porter, making it obviously more thick and rich (and more alcohol-ic tasting) in the overall profile. Secondly it has a unique hoppy-floral note lacing the more typical roasted chocolaty, malty and mocha. This is the most impressive part of the beer, it's hoppy sweet floral notes and slight bitter hints really make this normally dark beer far more crisp tasting. I really love this beer but recommend you have it in smaller dosage just because of the robust character and really thick mouthfeel.

chaz410, Nov 09, 2008
Photo of sliverX
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poored almost like a thin used motor oil, what head it did have left almost as soon as it showed up but foam stuck around the edge of the glass and left decent lacing
Smells of dark burnt malts and a slight alcohol hint
tastes of roasted coffee and a burnt dark chocolate hint, hops very present nice bitterness
feels good in the mouth slight thickness as you would expect
not something you'd sit around and drink a case of but a nice beer either way

sliverX, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of mugglesandhops
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I am a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan so I was looking forward to drinking this beer

A: Looks like a stout how dark it is, decent tan head.lots of lacing

S: Some chocolate, coffee

T: Little bit of chocolate, burnt coffee

M: very full

D: good beer, i dont know if i would drink it again though, a little too much for my blood

mugglesandhops, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of bbothen
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 version.

Pours a deep dark black with a frothy 2 finger deep espresso colored head.

Sweet maltiness, roasted coffee, chocolate, faint rasiny aroma.

Roasted/toasted malts, distinct hop bitterness, fruitiness, big boozy character, burnt bitter finish.

Big & full bodied, moderate carbonation, warming booziness.

Big beer. The 9% is distinct & warming. 2 in a sitting is enough.

bbothen, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of bonkers
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into my SA pint glass. While pouring this beer looks like dirty, used motor oil. The beer is dark, and impervious to any light. A thin tan head forms, making this beer look alot like a RIS. I really enjoyed the smell of this beer. There are hints of coffee, caramel, and alcohol. The taste is smooth and clean. Chocolate, toffee, and coffee are all flavors I pick up, along with some hints of overripe fruit. The feel of this beer is a medium/full bodied sipper. The beer hides its 9% ABV very well. I will definitely buy this one again.

bonkers, Nov 02, 2008
Gonzo Imperial Porter from Flying Dog Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 2,530 ratings.